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I was reading this article, Night Sister, when I got to the following sentence:

“I can go out between 6 and 9 on the evenings I’m working, but I don’t because it doesn’t feel right.”

I wonder why the more conventional phrase, in the evening(s), has not been used here. Can anybody explain it, please?

  • Consider replacing "evenings" with "days". Does it make more sense to you now? – MorganFR Dec 6 '16 at 15:05
  • @MorganFR; Of course it does. However, as far as I know we can't change "such phrases" that way, can we? – M.N Dec 6 '16 at 15:18
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    Sure we can, the evening is part of the day, and the day covers the entirety of the evening, so you may replace "evenings" with "days". If it were originally "days" and between "10 and 11 am", then you could not replace it with evening, as that time frame is not part of the evening. Any time frame, however, is part of the day (general meaning of the day: date, not the period of time when the sun is up). – MorganFR Dec 6 '16 at 15:24
  • The easiest way to explain, I guess, would be to compare in the evening -> time of day vs on the evenings -> date. NB: there is no "s" in "in the evening", because it's a time frame not a series of dates. – MorganFR Dec 6 '16 at 15:32
  • I see two considerations worth examination. One, there is a distinction between "on an occasion" and "in a period". The other, the object of the preposition "on" is "the evenings [that] I'm working", not merely "the evenings". – Gary Botnovcan Dec 6 '16 at 15:35
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Interesting examples.

on the evenings
between 6 and 9 on the evenings

refers to the "evenings" on the days you are working, whereas

in the evenings
between 6 and 9 in the evenings

refers to the time during any evening (without additional context).

You could rephrase this as

On the days that I am working, I am free between 6 and 9 in the evening.

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    Shouldn't it be "in the evening" in that last sentence? Otherwise we're right back where we started (time of day vs date). – MorganFR Dec 6 '16 at 15:24
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You do something or something happens in the evening.

I watched TV in the evening.

Suppr is 5.00 to 6.00 in the evening.

You do something or something happens on Monday/Tuesday, etc. morning.

I'll go to London on Sunday morning.

You do something or something happens on the evening of a particular date or event.

We planned to go out for dinner on the evening of my birthday.

The accident happened on the morning of January 23.

So you say I go out between 6 and 9 on the evenings I'm working (of my working days).

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Events occurring at specific date/day intervals are indicated as occurring "on".

We're going to the store on Wednesday.

We're going to Disney World on October 8th.

Events occurring at generalized times of day are indicated as occurring "in" a specific interval.

I tan in the afternoon.

In the morning I like oatmeal.

The constructs can be combined

On Wednesday, I went to the store in the morning.

If the time of day merely modifies the specific date, "on" takes precedence.

On Wednesday morning, I went to the store.

In your example "evenings I'm working" are specific dates, not times of day. Therefore you use "on".

If the interval is a general time of day but on specific days/dates, "on" is once again used.

On afternoons that I work, I like to eat pizza.

On days that I work, I like to eat pizza in the afternoon.

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