Technology and internet prepositions: On, at, in

A woman sits on the stairs and works on a laptop computer on her lap

You’ve probably studied the prepositions in, on, at, many times on your English learning journey.

Prepositions can be tricky for a variety of reasons. Many languages have equivalent prepositions to in, on and at, but they rarely work in the same way as in English. We also have many expressions that are a bit more figurative or abstract, which often go against the logic of preposition use.

When it comes to terms related to the internet and technology, we use the prepositions in, on and at, in different ways.

In this blog post, we’ll study how to use the prepositions in, on and at correctly in your English sentences.

Don’t forget to download your free Prepositions Cheat Sheet at the bottom of the blog!

At, on, in – the basics

First, let’s take a quick look at how to use these prepositions in regular situations. In general, we use ‘in’ for general areas and long time periods. ‘On’ is for more specific places, surfaces and days. Finally, ‘at’ is for specific places and specific times of the day.

Prepositions of place

Prepositions of place

Prepositions of time

Exceptions

We can use both ‘in and ‘onwith the word ‘car‘, so, it’s important to remember the difference. When something is inside the car we use ‘in‘. When something is on the surface of the car then we use ‘on‘.

Parts of day are normally preceded by ‘in‘. We get up in the morning and eat dinner in the evening. ‘Night‘ does not follow this rule. We say ‘I don’t like working at night‘.

When we use every, this, last and next before an expression of time, we do not use prepositions.

Can you think of any other important exceptions? Leave a comment below.

On, in, at with technology

We use the prepositions ‘in‘ and ‘on‘ a lot more than ‘at‘ when it comes to the internet and technology.

The word ‘online‘ already contains the preposition ‘on‘ within it. This is why we don’t use a preposition with the word. We also don’t use prepositions with the words ‘remote‘ and ‘remotely‘.

I bought it online

Special cases

Next, let’s look at a few specific cases where we might use more than one proposition, depending on what we want to say.

On/at a computer
I am working on a computer. = I am working on a device.
I am at the computer. = I am working at the place where my computer is.

Buy on a website but in a physical shop
I bought it on Amazon. = I used an online shop to buy it.
I bought it in Boots. = I went to a physical shop to pick it up.

On the market / in the market / at the market
The phone is now on the market. = The phone can be bought in the shops.
He’s in the market for a new car. = He is looking for a new car.
I bought it at the market. = I went to a market and bought something.

Work in a program/on something
I’m working in Krita. = I am using the program Krita to do my job.
I’m working on the video series. = My current project is the video series.

Practice activity

Are you ready to practise using in, on and at?

Take a look at the sentences below and try to complete them using the prepositions we discussed.

1. I forgot the book ___ a bench ___ the park.
2. I’d like to go to a restaurant ___ my next birthday.
3. I was born ___ the 1980s.
4. I’ll see you ___ France ___ Christmas.
5. I don’t like working ___ night.
6. I read it ___ a blog post about phrasal verbs.
7. Have you tried searching for it ___ Netflix?
8. I save all my essays ___ online as well as ___ the C drive.
9. I’m sorry I’m ___ wifi right now. I’ll try a wired connection instead.
10. I saw it ___ an advert ___ YouTube.

*Answers in the comments below*

Grab your free downloadable Prepositions cheat sheet right here!

This content was written and recorded by Intrepid English Teacher Lida.

Lida

You can find out more about Lida on her Intrepid English Teacher Profile Page.

Book a free trial lesson today to discuss this topic in more detail, and talk about your English learning goals with an experienced and friendly native English teacher.

If you have any questions, or you would like to request a topic for a future blog, you can contact us using the chatbox, send us an email, or even drop us a message on any of our social media channels.

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