show the relationship of time between the nouns to the other parts of a sentence.
Common preposition of time: On, at, in, from, to, for, since, ago, before, till/until, by, etc. are the most common.
AT, ON, IN
At always indicates an exact and specific time.
- I started working at 10 AM.
- The movie starts at 6 PM.
- The shop closes at 30 AM.
Note: Exceptions are that we say – at the weekend, at night, at Chrismas, at Easter, at the moment, etc.
On generally indicates a fixed date or a day.
- I’ll see her on Friday.
- He broke a record on Monday morning.
- I have a meeting on 25 October.
In generally indicates an indefinite and unspecific time of months, seasons, years, centuries, etc.
- I will get a holiday in December.
- Murphy was born in 2001.
- I love playing cricket in summer.
Note: Some very common exceptions are – in the morning, in the evening, in the afternoon, in five minutes, in six days, in two years, etc.
FROM....TO , UNTIL, SINCE, FOR
From....to indicates a fixed time-span with the beginning and the end.
- I worked there from 2010 to 2017.
- I usually work from Saturday to Thursday.
- I will stay there from 10 AM to 6 PM.
Until/till indicates a specific or unspecific time/event up to a point.
- They will not return until Friday.
- Wait for me until I return.
- I do not give up until I am succeeded.
- I will be there until Monday.
Since indicates a time-span beginning in a time in the past and still continuing in the present (now).
- Alex has been in the village since Sunday.
- He has been suffering from fever since Friday.
- Robin and Susan have been friends since childhood.
For indicates a period of time (amount of time) in the past, present or future.
- He stayed there for four days.
- I will be staying there for five months.
- I will work with them for a year.
- He was standing there for a long time.
BEFORE, AFTER, DURING, BY
Before indicates a prior event/ period of time from a point.
- Robin was very nervous before the interview.
- I want to leave before lunch.
- These batsmen should not get out before the tea break.
- Before going, close all the window.
After indicates a following event/period of time from a point. This preposition is the exact opposite of before.
- Robin felt confident after the interview.
- I want to leave after lunch.
- After playing football, we went home.
During indicates a period of time throughout the course or duration of any event or action.
- Robert was sleeping during the film.
- They don’t talk during dinner.
- I don’t usually smoke during office time.
By means ‘within the extent or period of; during’ something.
- I will complete the assignment by Sunday.
- He will return by 6 PM.
- I will submit the list by 11 AM.
Source: Learn Grammar