Prepositions of Time: “In,” “On,” & “At”

Have you ever asked a co-worker to join you “on 3:00” for a meeting?

Perhaps you mentioned to someone that your birthday was “at Friday.”

Though you may not have realized it, you were using these prepositions of time incorrectly!


When do you say


In trying to grasp a larger vocabulary, a student of English may start to overlook the small connecting words that bind language together, but these prepositional words have a great impact on others’ perception of your mastery of the language. Using them incorrectly could cause confusion with co-workers or make you feel insecure in your speech.


If you can remember this order, “IN, ON, AT”… then you can remember this general rule for how to describe points in time:


General Rule


See how “IN, ON, AT” progress from general to specific as you read their descriptions:


Prepositions of time


At the beginning of this article, the correct usage would mean the meeting is “at 3:00,” and that your birthday is “on Friday.”


Take a look at the following practice sentences and see if you can choose the correct prepositions.


Fill in white


Now check out my video from a few years ago that further explains the usage of “IN, ON, AT” and will help you practice how to use them… and then see if you got the sample sentences correct below!



Answers white

If this video and information helped you, or if you’d like more information on accent reduction, take my free accent screening and receive a free pronunciation guide at

3 Ways to Slow It Down: Connecting with International Co­Workers

We’re living and working in an age of international connectedness. Your co-­workers or clients may actually be living overseas and speak English as a second or third language, connected to you through internet chats and teleconferencing. Or, you may work daily in person with non-­native English speakers who have been in the U.S. for several years or only a few months.

No matter the situation, you need to be able to effectively communicate with your team.

In my last article on communicating with non-­native English speakers, I outlined how to keep language simple in the workplace. Today, we’ll talk about slowing down.

Slow It Down!

Right now I’m going to ask you to stop and remember:

• A foreign language class you took

• A time you were shopping in an international market

• Any time you overheard a foreign language conversation

Do you remember how the other language sounded? Was it incredibly fast and jumbled to you? Did you wonder how they could talk so quickly?

An international worker can feel just this way when trying to understand our language as well.

Be Aware of Your Speech.

You know how it is when you get on a roll with an idea… your speech speeds up as you get excited, and your words can hardly keep up with your brain. Or perhaps you’re pressed for time, and you rush your message or instructions. Even the everyday pace of your language can be too fast.

Be aware small

When speaking with an international worker or client, take the time to evaluate how quickly you’re actually talking. Even asking your co­-worker, “Am I talking too quickly?” shows that you care that they understand you. However, be aware that they may answer that you are not, in order to not seem unintelligent or rude.

Slow Down, but Don’t Exaggerate.

When we slow down our speech, we tend to start over-­enunciating our words or stretching them out. Try to avoid this.

Exaggerating small

Exaggerating words makes your listener feel belittled, and your speech no longer comes across the way English actually sounds. Again, just be aware of your pacing instead.

Slowing Down Saves Time.

It seems counter-intuitive, but we all know that taking our time on any project produces a better quality product and fewer headaches later on because of mistakes. Your language in the workplace is no different.

Miscommunication smallThis is especially true for highly technical environments, in which the precision of instructions and language is vital. Take a few extra seconds to slow your speech and make sure your message is clear, and you’ll be glad later that you did!

If you’d like more strategies on communicating with the non­-native English speakers in your workplace, or would like to offer your workers accent reduction classes or seminars, please contact Lisa Scott for a consultation… and visit for more on how we can help you break down cross­-cultural workplace barriers.

Scarier than a Haunted House

A nightmare.

Maybe you’ll survive.

Sounds like someone had a pretty scary experience, doesn’t it?

Did they just visit a Haunted House to enjoy a fright before Halloween? (Although why anyone enjoys being frightened, I don’t really understand!)

No, this person was worried about something much spookier than a Haunted House. He was worried about giving a presentation at work. It’s not because he doesn’t know the material, because he is good at what he does.

It’s because, as a non-native speaker, he has to speak English in front of hundreds of people, and he is concerned about his American pronunciation. He hasn’t had much opportunity to improve his spoken English, so he’s not sure the presentation will go well.

Have you felt that fear, too? Your boss tells you that you must give a presentation and you feel that tingle on the back of your neck, your stomach flips around, and you break out in a cold sweat.

What if they don’t understand me?
What if I pronounce important words wrong?
What if my presentation isn’t clear enough?
What if I lose my job?

You know that you are smart enough and that you do your job well; that’s not the problem. But speaking English in front of a roomful of people and hoping they understand you? Now that’s something to be afraid of!

Or is it?

Wouldn’t it be nice to feel confident the next time your boss asks you to give a presentation? It would be such a stress-reliever to know that you will be understood when you speak!

Did you know that one of the services I provide is coaching you one-on -one over Skype to prepare you for your next presentation?

We work on voice projection and pronunciation, focusing on your specific topic to be sure that you sound as clear and confident as possible. Giving a presentation doesn’t have to be scary anymore!

But what if your next presentation is very soon and you don’t have time to work with me right now?

Try these tips to improve your American pronunciation:

  • Write out your presentation so that you can practice. Speaking unprepared is a great skill, but right now you want to focus on improving your pronunciation.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Become very familiar with your topic so you can focus on the pronunciation of the words rather than the content.
  • Open your mouth wide and over-enunciate your words. It may sound odd to you, but it will greatly improve how easily you are understood by others.
  • Slow down. We all have a tendency to talk fast when we are nervous, but slowing down is one of the best ways to make sure that you pronounce your words clearly.
  • Practice in front of a mirror. This will help you see if you are able to make good eye contact with your audience. Get comfortable watching yourself, and add facial expressions and gestures for emphasis when appropriate.
  • Practice with a native speaker, if possible. Find someone who can listen to your presentation and point out obvious mispronunciations you can work on.
  • Take a deep breath and think positively! The deep breath will help you relax and the positive thoughts will help you perform at your best. Research has shown that we usually perform about as well as we think we will, so the more positively you think, the better you will do.

Once the presentation is over, evaluate yourself fairly. Congratulate yourself on the things that went well, and make a note of the skills you want to improve for the next time.

Soon, you will see the stage not as a scary Haunted House, but as an exciting platform for you to share your brilliance!

Ready for some help preparing for your next presentation? The first step is to take your free accent screening.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends by clicking on the button below. Thanks!

Are You Willing to Take the Risk?

Years of hard work … people calling you crazy … putting your life at risk … trying to do something others said can’t be done … is it worth it? Apparently, Orville and Wilbur Wright thought so.

Today, August 19, we celebrate National Aviation Day in honor of the Wright brothers who got their first airplane to take flight in 1903. These brothers had a dream and they were determined to make it happen. They knew that if they studied hard enough, they could figure it out. Do you know what they studied?


Birds fly effortlessly and without thought, masters of their craft. If you want to learn how to do something well, the best thing to do is to copy a master. So, the Wright brothers studied birds, the structure of their wings, and the way they flew, and applied these principles to their airplane wings.

If you want to do something well, find a master to learn from. If you want to learn to fly, study the birds. If you want to learn to ski, learn from professional skiers. And if you want to learn to speak English more clearly, learn it from a native speaker who knows how it sounds and how it works.

Sure, there is a risk involved in working on your pronunciation. You might make a mistake while learning a new sound; in fact, you probably will. Most people do. But is that a reason not to try?

And yes, a colleague might ask you to repeat yourself or laugh at you when the new word that sounded so good in class didn’t come out right at all in conversation.

But, chances are, if you work hard, you will see improvement in your speech. You will speak English more clearly and others will understand you better. Your confidence will improve and you will begin to believe that you can accomplish more than you ever thought possible.

I want to partner with you as you take that risk and feel the thrill of accomplishment in your pronunciation skills.

And it all starts with a simple step. Click on the link below to reserve your space in my free webinar coming up on September 12.

Yes, that’s right. A FREE webinar! I’m taking away the risk for you. It’s no cost and no obligation. All you have to do is show up and give it a try.

You will learn tips and techniques to improve your pronunciation and ideas for increasing your vocabulary. You will find out about common grammar pitfalls and why it is so important that you work on your accent now.

Imagine being able to say whatever you want, any time you want because you know you will be understood. Doesn’t that sound great?

It just takes a small risk — it’s what I call “sign up and show up.” That’s it. Reserve your space here and show up ready to learn.

If you’re willing to take that risk, the rewards will be worth it; I promise! So don’t wait to reserve your place; space is limited and I don’t want you to miss out !

If you’re excited about this opportunity to improve your pronunciation, please share it with your friends. Pass around the link on Facebook and Twitter, and let’s see who is ready to take the risk to speak clearer English with confidence!