Preposition of Time

There are three types of prepositions in English. Among three types of prepositions, preposition of time refer to those words which denote the time. They are used before time phrase.

since for before
after till until
on in by
from within at

Let us take each given preposition of time from above and understand where they should be correctly used.

Since and For

Since is used with the point of time. It is used in the following way:

  • Since + name of days/months/seasons/festivals
  • Since + period of days (morning, afternoon, evening)
  • Since + time of clock or years (since 8 o’clock, since 2004)
  • Since + last + time phrase (last month, last year)
  • Since + time period of one’s life (youth, boyhood

Unlike since, for is used with the period of time. It is used in the following way:

  • For + hours (for four hours)
  • For + number of days (for two months, for eight weeks)
  • For + gerund (verbal noun) (he waits an hour for meeting his wife)
  • For + distance (I have to walk for hours to reach my grandmothers house)
  • For the purpose or favor of something (I bought a pen from my father/I am eating for getting healthier)
  • Direction + for (she flew from London to New York)

Before and After

Before is used with the time prior to the beginning or completion of the given time.

  • I will dance before the band performance.
  • It’s better to learn noun before pronoun.

After is used with the completion of any work or used to denote the later time.

  • After the program ends I will meet the principal and thank him.
  • Later in series: 2 comes after

Till / until

Till and until both have the same use. They are used to show a particular time. For example:

I will have eaten my lunch by 12 o’clock.


On generally refers to be dependent or above something. It is used in the following way:

  • Before the names of day and dates ( in Sunday, on 23rd August)
  • With a situation (on celebration, on vacation, on war)
  • About dependence in something or someone (on human blood, on chicken meat)
  • Physical position (on right/left)
  • Special days (on women’s day, on birthday)
  • Means of transportation (vehicles and animals)
  • Means of communication (on T.V.)


In is generally used to denote the location or position. It is used in the following way:

  • Before color/color of dress (in blue, in green sari/in red dress)
  • Before month/season/year (in August/in spring/in 1992)
  • Before places with large areas (in America, in Nepal)
  • Before location/street/row/line (in the store/in the queue/in Devkota street)
  • Before a year/particular time (in 1990 A.D./in an hour)


By is used to denote the time before the given time or before the end of given time. It is used in the following way:

  • In passive ( the essay is written by Dylan Thomas)
  • Means of transportation (by airplane, by boat)
  • Means of payment (by cheque/credit card)
  • In units of and division and multiplication (by ton, multiply by )
  • The latest time in which task is over (the dance will be over by 5 p.m.)

From and Within

From is often used with ‘to’ or ‘till/until’ and is used with the beginning of a task/period of time. For example:

  • We have holiday from tomorrow.
  • He was my friend from class 5.

Within is used before the completion of a task by the fixed time phrase. For example:

  • I will finish cooking within two hours.
  • Within five days I have to submit my assignment.


At is used to indicate fixed point of time. It is used in the following way:

  • At the end of certain time period and fixed time period, before parts of the day, specific time
  • Before festivals (at Id, at Christmas, at Dashain)
  • Before certain age/temperature (at the age of 100, at 90 degree Celsius)
  • Before specific location (at home, at office)
  • Before price (at $5)
  • Before Superlatives (at least, at worst)