Prepositions: place (basic)


Prepositions of place are used to talk about the place where something or someone is situated. The three main prepositions are at, in and on. There are a few rules that can help although there are also lots of exceptions.


We often use at to talk about the location of something/someone at a specific point or place:

  • They are at the bus stop.
  • My friends are at the concert.
  • My sister is at school.
  • The taxi is at the airport.
  • I will meet you at the entrance of the hotel.


We often use in when we are surrounded by something or in an enclosed space:

  • I am in the water.
  • I am in the queue.
  • I am in the shoe shop.

In can also be used to talk about towns and countries:

  • They are in Lisbon.
  • I want to live in Brazil.


We usually use on is used when we talk about the location of something on a surface (vertical or horizontal):

  • My keys are on the table.
  • The cat is on the sofa.
  • You have a red mark on your hand.
  • The picture is on the wall.
  • There is writing on the page.

We also use on to refer to websites and the internet:

  • I found these shoes on the internet.
  • You can listen to these songs on Spotify.
Further learning
Description Author Language
Rules, concepts and exceptions for using 'in' and 'on' to describe place (location). SmallAdvantages
A summary of using in, on, at and by mmmEnglish