Teach and Learn English

AT, IN or ON? Prepositions of TIME

ON May or IN May? AT the morning or IN the morning? ON night or AT night? I'm sure you've faced these dilemmas before. When my students say it's complicated... I tell them – it's interesting! :))) Because the most important thing is the right attitude! Brace yourselves then – here we go...

Ok, let's start with AT

  • we use it with clock time (at 9 am, at 8 o'clock, but also - at dinner time, at breakfast or at midnight, at midday)
We had breakfast at 7 am.
Tom visited us at breakfast. (= during breakfast time)
At midnight it suddenly stopped raining.

  • we use it with period of time which is a few days – at the weekend or some public holidays (at Christmas, at Easter)
Where are you going at Christmas?
What are you doing at the weekend?*

* In American and Australian English it is more common to say 'ON the weekend'

  • we use it with NIGHT when we want to say 'during any night'
I try to sleep 8 hours at night. (= every night)

  •  we use it with expressions like THE END or THE BEGINNING
We have holiday at the end of August.
At the beginning of next week we are organising a meeting for all our managers.

  • is used with DAYS (whenever we talk about ONE DAY period)
I met him on Friday.
We suggested leaving on Christmas Day.
On New Year's Eve we usually stay at home.
Her birthday is on the 7th July.

  • is used with days of the week to mean 'every'
We always go to the fitness club on Saturdays. (= every Saturday)

  • is used with parts of the day when the first word is a day of the week
We met on Saturday evening.

  • is used with parts of the day (in the morning, in the afternoon)
I usually have tea in the evening and coffee in the morning.

  • is used with NIGHT to mean 'during one particular night'
I didn't sleep well in the night. (= only this particular night)

  • is used with LONGER periods of time (in March, in 2008, in fall)
We went to Turkey in May.
Why don't we go to the seaside in summer?
She was born in 1998.

  • is used with expression THE MIDDLE OF
In the middle of January the temperatures dramatically dropped.

  • is used to mean 'how soon something will happen' (in a few days, in a month, in a year)
We should finish the meeting in 20 minutes.
We are moving house in a month.
I will do it in a moment.

And last but not least... There are some situatons in which we DO NOT USE ANY PREPOSITIONS:



We see each other every Monday.
Sarah is not visiting us this week, she is comming next month.
I will do it the day after tomorrow.
You can come any time you want.


WONDER or WANDER that is the question..!

Dla wielu te dwa mieszać się nie przestają, a jednak poza wizualnym podobieństwem niewiele ich łączy. Let's investigate further then ;)

Zaczynamy nie według kolejności alfabetycznej – ale właśnie wbrew niej, ponieważ to właśnie wOnder jest słowem znacznie bardziej spopularyzowanym.

wOnder /ˈwʌndər/ to zastanawiać się, dziwić a nawet zdumiewać. Powiemy na przykład:

I wOnder why he didn't say a word to me last night. (no, może po prostu mu się nie chciało, co nie zmienia faktu, że mnie to zastanowiło tak czy siak)

I wOnder if I asked him he would tell me the truth. (rather not...)

Why are all men like that, I wOnder? (good luck as they say;)

There's no point wOndering about it. Just need to accept the things as they are.

wOnder jest główną postacią w wielu ciekawych wyrażeniach. Popatrzcie tylko:

I shouldn't wOnder oznacza 'najprawdopodobniej':

She will get the job, I shouldn't wOnder.
My sons are up to no good, I shouldn't wOnder!

It's a wOnder to po prostu 'to cud, że...':

You do not study at all! It's a wOnder you make any progress at all!
It's a wOnder Sally had fun at the party. She is usually a wet blanket.

No wOnder that to 'nic dziwnego, że...', podobnie jak Is it any wOnder czy chociażby little/small wOnder:

He studied very hard. No wOnder that he passed the exam.
They are the best team in Spain. Is it any wOnder they won?
It's little wOnder that they decided to have more kids – they are excellent parents.

A może ktoś zna, pamięta Keane?:)

Coś może czynić cuda, czyli work albo do wOnders:

This medicine works wOnders for me!  
Some people say that keeping a pet can do wOnders for people who live under a lot of stress.

A czasami cuda (same) się zdarzają, czyli wOnders never cease:

My husband got up very early today! WOnders never cease!
Although the doctors didn't believe it, he recovered completely. WOnders never cease!

Na pewno słyszeliście o artystach jednego przeboju... Weather Girls, Carl Douglas, Baha Men, Los Del Rio i inni. To tzw. one-hit wOnders. Ciekawe kto z Was pamięta jeszcze jakie to hity oni wylansowali ;) 

Z podobnej bajki jest wyrażenie one-day wOnder lub one-year wOnder (możemy tutaj modyfikować początek w zależności od tego o czym chcemy mówić). Chodzi o zjawiska lub wydarzenia, które są gorącym tematem tylko przez jeden dzień lub rok, etc. Potem o nich zapominamy:

The news of the musician's death was only a one-day wOnder. Next day nobody remembered about it.

Mamy też w kolejce takiego ciapę, mięczaka lub ecie-pecie albo i nawet cielę, czyli chinless wOnder. Tak przy okazji chin to broda, czyli chinless - bez brody. Kto wie, może nawet można by powiedzieć, że bez jaj ;)

 A czy ktoś kojarzy te postaci...

Tak, tak, ... Stevie wOnder!

i jedyna wOnder Woman!

Sporo tego, a takie niepozorne słowo wOnder! Co zatem z wAnder? Let's see into it...

wAnder /ˈwɒndər/ to przede wszystkim czasownik który oznacza wędrować, włóczyć się lub szwendać:

'Where's Mark?' 'I don't know. He's probably wAndering about somewhere.'
We didn't go anywhere specific – we just wAndered aimlessly in the park.

wAnder może też być użyte nieco bardziej metaforycznie, np. w znaczeniu błądzić myślami, szczególnie w połączeniu z MIND:

The moment I sat down, my mind started to wAnder.

Albo tutaj, gdzie wAnder będzie znaczyło zbaczać z tematu:

Don't wAnder off topic! We need to make some serious decisions today!
Now I have wAndered off. Let's get back to the point.


Pytania z LIKE - Confusing questions with LIKE

As you can already see in the title of the post I have called those questions 'confusing'. That is probably the best word to describe the three questions that use verb LIKE in such a different way that the meaning of it becomes different too. I have hardly ever met a student who actually could produce the three questions correctly in the meaning and context designed for it. Let's see what the questions are...

1. What does Mark LIKE? – a question about preferences and likes/dislikes

In Polish we would say 'Co lubi Marek?' Here – verb LIKE is the main verb in the sentence.

'What does Mark like?'
'He likes potatoes and pork chops.' (no judgment ;))

'Co lubi Marek?'
'Lubi ziemniaki i kotlety schabowe.'

Of course, this question can be built in different tenses:

'What did your grandma like? Did she like gardening?'
'I wonder what will my daughter like. Will she like potatoes and pork chops when she grows up?' ;)
'Have you always liked this type of music? I don't remember you listening to such music before.'

2. What does Mark LOOK LIKE? – a question about somebody's appearance/looks

In Polish we would ask 'Jak wygląda Marek?' Verb LIKE in this question is, differently than in the above one, the object of verb LOOK. (ok, ok... the object is 'dopełnienie' ;)

'What does Mark look like?'
'He is tall and slim.'

'Jak wygląda Marek?'
'Jest wysoki i szczupły.' (pomimo, że je ziemniaki i schabowe... ;))

And as well, we can use different tenses to build this type of a question:

'What did she look like?'
'Oh, you know – she was an average-looking lady in her seventies.'
'What is the conference room going to look like in the new office? Is it going to be bigger than the old one?
What should the policy of the company look like in the future?'

3. What IS Mark LIKE? – a question about character/personality or characteristics

It would be 'Jaki jest Marek?' in Polish. Pay attention to the fact that in this question we have verb TO BE which is the main verb here. Verb LIKE is also an object here – of the verb TO BE. I find this question most confusing among students, especially when they want to ask 'Jakie to jest?' and what they usually produce is 'How is it?' which means 'Jak jest?' Well, the correct version is of course 'What is it like?' or 'What's it like?'

'What is Mark like?'
'He is nice and very sociable.'

'Jaki jest Marek?'
'Jest miły i bardzo towarzyski.'

Once again, we can use different tenses to construct such a question:

'What was it like to be a teacher 30 years ago? Was it more difficult or easier?'
'What's the test going to be like? Difficult or easy?'
'What has been the policy of the company like so far?'
'What will be the new conditions of the contract like next year?'

Hmm... I hope I made things clearer and did not confuse them more for you ;)
If you need to get some practice with the above questions, feel free to do the following exercises...

1. Think about your best friend, brother or sister or somebody close to you. Having them on mind answer the following questions about them:

  • What is he/she like?
  • What does he/she like?
  • What does he/she like doing in their free time?
  • What does he/she look like?
Now think about your place of work or home and answer these questions:
  • What is your office/home/house/apartment like? 
  • What does your office/home/house/apartment look like?
  • What do you like about your office/home/house/apartment?
2. Put the words in the right order to build questions:

  • is/What/like/it/?
  • new/like/is/boss/What/your/?
  • your/was/What/after/your/ex-wife/like/relation/with/divorce/the/?
  • going/What/again/living/be/to/it/is/like/own/my/on/?
  • you/child/reading/a/like/were/What/when/did/you/?
  • new/in/the/on/to/the/office/Does/manager/us/like/be/time/?
  • to/the/all/Do/you/told/do/what/time/like/be/to/?
  • contract/What/the/does/like/look/?
  • did/office/renovation/like/before/look/the/What/the/?
  • like/hair/treatment/after/my/Will/hair/the/yours/look/?

3. Translate the following questions into English:

  • Jaka jest dziś pogoda?
  • Lubisz swojego nauczyciela od angielskiego?
  • Co twój pies lubi jeść?
  • Jak będzie wyglądał ten dom kiedy oni się wyprowadzą?
  • Chciałem zapytać jak będzie dalej wyglądała nasza współpraca?
  • Zastanawiałem się jaki będzie odbiór mojej prezentacji.
What is it like?
What is your new boss like?
What was your relation with your ex-wife like after the divorce?
What is it going to be like living on my own again?
What did you like reading when you were a child?
Does the new manager like us to be on time in the office?
Do you like to be told what to do all the time?
What does the contract look like?
What did this office look like before the renovation?
Will my hair look like yours after the treatment?
What's the weather like today?
Do you like your English teacher?
What does your dog like eating/to eat?
What will this house look like when they move out/have moved out?
I wanted to ask what our cooperation will/is going to look like next?
I was wondering what the reception of my presentation would be like?


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