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Prepositions Holidays and Celebrations — and Dropping the Preposition

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In the previous lesson about prepositions, you learned what prepositions to use with the exact time and other periods of time such as seasons.

What do you use with other dates such as Christmas or Ramadan? Did you know that sometimes you do not use a preposition at all? Complete this lesson to learn about more prepositions of time.

Use “On” with Days and Dates

In another lesson you learned about using onwith days and dates.

When these days and dates are holidays or celebrations, you also use on, but sometimes you may use other prepositions. We will see about those next.

Example sentences

  • Sometimes I have to work on Saturdays.
  • My brother and I are driving to Chicago on Christmas Eve. We will arrive on Christmas Day.
  • Where will you be on your birthday this year?
  • My wife and I met on Independence Day ten years ago.

Use “Over” or “For” to Refer to the Length of the Occasion

Sometimes you refer to a certain date or occasion as an exact date, so you use the preposition on (for example, on Independence Day).

Other times, you to refer to that date or occasion as a whole period of time. Then you can use over (for example, over Christmas).

When you use for, you also have the meaning of purpose or reason (for example, for Christmas).

Compare these example sentences

Examples 1.

  • Where are you planning to be on Christmas?
    (on that day)
  • Where are you planning to be over Christmas?
    (during that time, which probably includes Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)
  • Where are you planning to be for Christmas.
    (to celebrate Christmas)

Examples 2.

  • What are you planning to do on the weekend?
  • What are you planning to do over the weekend?

Note. In some varieties of English, people say “at the weekend,” “at Christmas,” “at Easter,” and so on.

Use “During,” “Over,” “On,” “At,” or “For” with Long Dates or Holidays

Some dates or holidays such as Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Easter happen over long periods of time. Different prepositions can be used.

Compare these example sentences

Examples 1.

  • I will be in Chicago during (or over) Ramadan this year.
  • I will be in Chicago on (or at) Ramadan this year.
  • I will be in Chicago for Ramadan this year.

Examples 2.

  • Jewish people light candles during (or over) Hanukkah.
  • Jewish people light candles over Hanukkah.
  • Jewish people light candles on (or at) Hanukkah.
  • Jewish people light candles for Hanukkah.

Note. “On” is generally used in American English; “at” is generally used in British English.

Important! Sometimes You Drop the Preposition

Do not use a preposition when you use last, next, every, this. You can also drop the preposition when with days of the week.

Compare these example sentences

Examples 1.

  • I’m leaving for New York on Monday.
  • I’m leaving for New York this Monday.
  • I’m leaving for New York next Monday.

Examples 2.

  • John moved to Los Angeles in the winter.
  • John moved to Los Angeles last the winter.

Examples 3.

  • He is going to arrive in the evening.
  • He is going to arrive this evening.

Examples 4.

  • I like to go on walks in the morning.
  • I like to go on walks every morning.

Practice

Complete a short exercise to assess what you have learned.

Back to Catalog Prepositions List