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Prepositions of Place/Location IN/ON/AT

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TOPIC: Prepositions of Place/Location


GOAL: To learn about the proper use of prepositions of place/location



Exercise #1: Read about Prepositions of Place and then proceed to Exercise #2

A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence. The word or phrase that the preposition introduces is called the object of the preposition.

Even for the most advanced students, propositions can always use more practice. Many verbs are (usually) followed by certain prepositions. Some even entirely change the meaning of a verb by turning it into a phrasal verb.  Learners just have to memorize most prepositions, especially those that follow certain verbs (and even more so for those that create phrasal verbs). Some prepositions can be used interchangeably depending on the situation. This just adds more confusion for people learning English.

The good news is that prepositions of place, perhaps, are among the most consistent (that is, they have fewer exceptions). Prepositions of place are almost logical, if you can understand the preposition on its own.

In general, we use:

at for a POINT


on for a SURFACE

at in on
at the corner in the garden on the wall
at the bus stop in London on the ceiling
at the door in France on the door
at the top of the page in a box on the cover
at the end of the road in my pocket on the floor
at the entrance in my wallet on the carpet
at the intersection in a building on the menu
at the front desk in a car on a page


Look at these examples:

Jane is waiting for you at the boarding gate.

The shop is at the end of the concourse.

The plane stopped at Dubai and Hanoi and arrived in Bangkok two hours late.

When will you arrive at the dispatcher’s office?

Do you work in the headquarters’ building?

I have a meeting in New York.

Do you live in Paris?

The jet is in the hangar.

The aircraft model is on the cover of the flight manual.

There are no prices on this menu.

You are standing on my foot.

There is a "no smoking" sign on the airplane’s wall.

I live on the 7th floor at 21 Oxford Street in London.

When describing the location of someone of something inside of a vehicle, the use of the prepositions in, on depends on the kind of vehicle being discussed.

1. All vehicles that do not allow someone to walk easily around inside normally use the preposition in.


For example: She was in the car when she called me.

2. All vehicles that do allow someone to walk easily around inside normally use the preposition on.


For example: We were on the plane when the fire started.

***Exceptions: Although you are not able to walk around inside of them, when riding a bicycle, motorcycle or any animal the preposition on must be used.

For example: I rode on a horse yesterday. She rode on her bicycle. etc…

Look at these examples:

in a car

on a bus

in a taxi

on a train

in a helicopter

on a plane

in a boat

on a ship

in a lift (elevator)

on a bicycle

on a motorbike

on a horse,

on an elephant



Exercise #2: Practice with aviation phrases



Match words the correct preposition with the following list of phrases:

a. at

b. in

c. on


**Note: More than one preposition may apply


  1. ___ the terminal
  2. ___ the airplane
  3. ___ the gate
  4. ___ the cockpit
  5. ___ the jetway
  6. ___ the baggage cart
  7. ___ the baggage claim area
  8. ___ the reservations desk
  9. ___ the flight status screen
  10. ___ the engine

Answers: 1a/b, 2b, 3a, 4b, 5a/b, 6c, 7a/b, 8a/c, 9c, 10b/c

Exercise #3: Complete the following quiz using the correct preposition for each sentence.

Place Prepositions Quiz

Determine which of the following prepositions goes with each sentence:

a. at

b. in

c. on

1.  I am ____ work.

2. We are sitting  ____ the park. It is a nice day.

3. My car is parked  ____ the parking lot.

4. Our house is  ____ the end of the street.
5. My office is  ____ the 6th floor.
6. The books are  ____ the bag.
7. The planes are  ____ the apron.
8. There are a lot of pilots ____ the airport.
9. I called their house, but nobody is  ____ home.
10. There is a beautiful painting of a plane  ____ the wall.
11. The cup fell  ____ the floor. I have to pick it up.
12. Come sit  ____ the table. It is time to have breakfast before we fly.
13. There is a lot of food  ____ the refrigerator
14. The sweetener is  ____ the top shelf in the galley.
15. The laptop is  ____ the table.
16. The Learjet is  ____ the hangar.
17. Is the registration  ____ the tail?
18. Are your children  ____ the 2nd grade?
19. Do your children stay  ____ their grandmother's house when you fly?
20. Is someone going to answer  ____ the door?


1) a

2) b

3) b

4) a

5) c

6) b

7) c

8.) a

9.) a

10) c

11) c

12) c

13) a

14) c

15) c

16) b

17) c

18) b

19) a

20)  no preposition

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