A preposition is a word which describes the relationship between an object and another word, object, or element in the sentence. The word ‘at’ as a preposition means many different things.
- a point or period in time
I get up at 9 am.
I fish at the weekends.
I’m on holiday at the moment.
I only have a drink at lunch.
- to show a specific location
Todd is at the bus stop.
Someone is at the door.
Jimmy is at his grandad’s house.
I’m at the back of the queue.
at preposition of time
Used in the phrase ‘at night’.
- I do my homework at night.
- The foxes come out at night.
- The baby wakes me up at night and I can’t get back to sleep.
HOT TIP – We use the preposition ‘in‘ for other parts of the day – in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, or in the night.
At mealtimes – breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
- I pack my bag for school at breakfast.
- I call my mum at lunch.
- I’m not allowed to play on my phone at dinner.
HOT TIP – If you’re describing the food you have for a particular meal, we use the preposition ‘for’. For example – I have toast for breakfast.
- I must hand over my Xbox at bedtime.
- I have to take 2 tablets at bedtime.
- My little sister always starts crying at bedtime.
At the moment/minute, at present, or at the same time.
- I’m a it busy at the moment.
- We can’t pay at the minute we’ll come back next week.
- I have a decent job at present.
- We are all pregnant at the same time.
At a specific time.
- I’ve got the dentist at 2:30.
- We’re meeting at 7:30 as the concert starts at 8.
- The buffet opens at midday.
At a holiday period e.g. At Christmas, Easter, or the weekend.
- My sister always comes down for a visit at Christmas.
- The kids are excited for 2 weeks off school at Easter.
- I’m looking forward to a lie-in at the weekend.
HOT TIP – If you’re talking about one particular day over the holidays, we use the preposition ‘on’. For example – My sister always comes down for a visit on Christmas day.
at preposition of place
At a specific location e.g. bar, bus stop, desk, door, table, or shop.
- I’m at the bar, what are you drinking?
- Meet me at the bus stop in 10 minutes.
- I’m very busy so I’ll be eating lunch at my desk today.
- There is a strange guy at the door, don’t open it.
- Please don’t use your mobile phone at the dinner table.
- We’re at the shop, shall we get a bottle of wine for dinner?
At a party, concert, game, or conference.
- The kids are at a party so I’m going to put my feet up.
- The lighting at the concert was amazing.
- James was at the game with his new girlfriend.
- I’m away at a conference all weekend.
At the front, back, top, bottom, or the side.
- In a few minutes, we’ll be at the front of the queue.
- Don’t push in. Get to the back of the line now.
- United are at the top of the table.
- My fish is at the bottom of the tank, I think its dead.
- My dog is always at my side. (You can also use the preposition ‘by’ too.)
HOT TIP – When describing the middle, we use the preposition ‘in‘.
At traffic lights, a roundabout, a crossing, or a junction.
- I’ve been waiting at the traffic lights for 10 minutes. I think they’re stuck.
- There has been a crash on the roundabout by the hospital.
- We have to wait at the crossing for the train to pass.
- Make sure you give way at the junction.
At home, work, school, the dentist, or someone’s house.
- I’ve been at home all day, but i didn’t hear the postman.
- I have to be at work for 7 am tomorrow.
- The kids are at school until 4 today.
- Mark is at the dentist to have a root canal.
- My eldest is at her best friend’s house for a movie night.
At the hospital, or jail/prison (implies you are visiting).
- I can’t meet you in town, I’m at the hospital visiting my uncle.
- I’m at the jail waiting for my friend to be released.
- Ella is at the prison; she’s getting cautioned for theft.
At the beginning, or at the end.
- I always check the machines at the beginning of my shift.
- I’m nearly at the end of my book, it’s been a great read.
HOT TIP – When describing ‘the middle’, we use the preposition ‘in’.
At a specific address.
- My friend lives at 123 Sycamore Drive.
- I live at the old mill.