Learn English: Using AT, IN THE, AGO, and more words to talk about time


Hello. I’m Gill at
www.engvid.com, and today’s lesson, we’re looking at
how to talk about days and times. And we’re going to start by looking
at prepositions, because sometimes it’s a little bit confusing which preposition
to use for particular references to the day or the time. Okay? So, there are two main prepositions. There’s
“at” and there’s “in”, and “in the” usually or always, probably. So, with “at”, we can
have the… A specific time on the clock: “At 2pm” or “At 2:00”, “At 2:30”, “At midnight”,
all the times on the clock or on your watch is “at”. And then when you’re referring to
mealtimes: “At breakfast time”, “At lunchtime”, “At teatime”. We like teatime, here in the
UK. It’s very traditional. Around 4:00, nice cup of tea. Lovely. “At teatime”, “At dinnertime”,
and “At night”. Okay? So, “At night”. But when it comes to other words that are linked
with morning, afternoon, evening, night – we use a different preposition. So, it’s just
“night” that has “at” with it there, and then the mealtime, and the
specific times on your watch. Okay, so let’s have a look at the “in” preposition,
and see what goes with “in”. So, you can say: “In the morning”, “In the afternoon”, “In the
daytime”, meaning anytime during the day. “In the daytime”, “In the middle of the day”,
so that’s roughly maybe midday, 12:00 or 1:00, 2:00, that sort of time. “In the middle of the
day”. “In the evening”. You can also say: “In the night”, which has the sort
of meaning: “During the night”. We’ve got: “At night” there, but you
can say: “In the night” meaning: “Oh, I woke up in the night
because I’d had a bad dream.” So: “I woke up during the night because
I had a bad dream.” So you can use it with “night” with both prepositions. Okay?
And then: “In the middle of the night”. You can also say: “I woke up in the middle of
the night.” Okay, so I hope that helps to make clear which preposition to use. And now
we’re going to move on and look at some past, present, and future words.
Okay. Okay, so moving on to look at some words about
the past, the present, and the future. Okay? Past, present, future. We have, for example:
“yesterday”. Yesterday was Tuesday. “Today”. Today is Wednesday. “Tomorrow”, tomorrow
is Thursday. Okay? Yesterday, today, tomorrow. Then, when you’re talking about different
parts of today-okay?-we use “this”, so you say: “This morning”. That is whether
it is morning at the moment: “This morning we are going to do something” or you can
say: “This morning we had our breakfast at 9:00.” So, “this morning” you can use in the present or
the past. “This morning”, “this afternoon”. And again, oh, you could say: “This
afternoon we will”, so that’s like future, or: “This afternoon we are doing
something”, in the present. So you can use these past, present,
future, but it’s all with: “This morning”, “This afternoon”,
“This evening”, but it then changes. We don’t say: “This night”, we say:
“Tonight”, all one word, “Tonight”. Okay? So that’s just one little
exception: “Tonight”. Okay. And then looking at something similar for
yesterday, we can say: “Yesterday morning”, “Yesterday afternoon we went to see a film”,
“Yesterday evening we went to see some friends”, but again, we don’t say: “Yesterday night”,
we say: “Last night”. Okay, so another little exception. “Tonight”, “Last night”
are different. Okay. Right. And then moving on to look at the future:
“Tomorrow morning”, “Tomorrow afternoon”, “Tomorrow evening”. There is a good program
on television tomorrow evening. And this time it’s the same: “Tomorrow night”. So, it doesn’t
change. “Tonight”, “Last night”, “Tomorrow night”. And then moving on to look either further back
in the past, or other times in the present, or further into the future. With the day of
the week, you can say: “Last Monday”, which was Monday of last week; you could say: “This
Monday”, Monday of this week; or “Next Monday” in the future, “Monday of next week”. Okay? And
similarly, you can use these in combination. “Last week”, “This week”, “Next week”,
“Last month”, “This month”, “Next month”, “Last year”, “This year”, and “Next year”.
So they’re all very straightforward. Okay? Right. And then to finish with just two little
interesting points. First of all, this little word: “ago”, “ago”. “A week ago”,
that means this time last week. “A week ago, I was on holiday.” Okay? Or: “A week ago,
I was in my office.” Or: “A week ago, I was
travelling on a train.” It’s what you were doing this
time last week; seven days ago. So: “A week ago”, you could use it with “A month
ago”, “A year ago”. You can make it less, you can say: “A minute ago”, “An hour ago”, “A day
ago”, okay? So it’s always in the past. And even longer time: “5 years ago”, “10 years
ago”. So it’s a useful little word. And then finally, a lot of people get confused
by this strange word: “a fortnight”. They might think: “Well, four… Four nights.”
No, it’s not four nights. It actually… It was a very old expression, meaning 14 nights.
Okay? And if you think 14 nights, well, okay, that’s two weeks. So, 14 days, but 14 nights.
Okay? So, it just means… “A fortnight” means two weeks. You might find it in books like
Jane Austen, but we still use it today as well to say: “A fortnight”, “A
fortnight ago, I was on holiday”, or “We are going on holiday for a
fortnight”. So, we use it a lot in the UK. Right, so I hope that
was all useful for you. If you’d like to test your
knowledge on this topic, please go to the website:
www.engvid.com and do the quiz. And if you’ve enjoyed my lesson, perhaps you’d
like to subscribe to my YouTube channel. And that’s it for today. Hope to see you very soon. Okay. Bye for now.

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