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When do we use prepositions AT, IN, ON?

“In“ or “on”?

in a line, in a row, in a queue, in a street on the left, on the right
in a picture, in a photograph, in a mirror on the ground floor, on the second floor
in the sky, in the world on a map, on a list, on the menu
in a book, in a newspaper, in a letter * on a farm

*But ”on a page”

“In“ or “at“?



in the corner of a room at/on the corner of the street
in the front/ back of the car at the front/ back of a building
in the front/ back row at the front/ back of the cinema
The rooms in my house are small. I was at Judy’s house yesterday.
I love swimming in the sea. We were at sea for 14 days.

We use the preposition IN in the phrase swimming in the sea because we mean to get into the water of the particular sea and we do the action in the sea. But we want to say that we spent our holidays “at the sea”, all 14 days. We were not all the time in the water of that sea.

Means of transport

We use to get in the car but we get on the plane, on the train, on the ship and on the bus.

These prepositions are used with places but, in some cases, the preposition preceding the noun belonging to the same word class and area of use may differ. Perfect examples are means of transport.

in a car

  • on a plane
  • on a train
  • on a ship
  • on a bus


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