According to this article, we shouldn't use any preposition before the words 'last', 'next', 'every', 'this' when we refer the expression to some time (next Friday...) but there are some cases I have confronted with and this confused me

  • Question:

Is it wrong usage of a preposition or some kind of exception?

link to the source

1) On the next two nights, they evaluated the volunteers' sleep behavior in the presence of noises like road and air traffic or a ringing telephone

2) When the watch returns to normal temperature, however, this condition will be corrected and the correct date will be displayed on the next day

3) On the next morning the groups started with the visiting program

4) They were released on the next day only after their families paid the ransom demanded by the kidnappers

link to the source

5) The Commission President has talked a lot about Robin Hood in the last couple of weeks

6) In the last week of the campaign, he made a point of disagreeing with the constitutional amendment, saying that he didn't oppose civil union

7) In the last year, Albania has carried out evaluation visits and has received such inspection and evaluation visits yearly

8) In the last two and a half hours they had not yet resumed

  • Not all of the examples on that page are using the "time words" as temporal references. "agreement on the next year's work", for example, is not temporal but a reference to "the next year" as a time-span/container for the work, and on goes with agreement, to reach an agreement on something.
    – TimR
    Jul 23, 2017 at 11:35
  • 1
    It is possible to understand day | morning | evening| night as a temporal reference or as an occasion or a span of time. When an occasion or a span, the preposition is used. When understood as a point on a timeline, no preposition is used. On the first day, the day they arrived, they visited the poet's birthplace. The next day they went to the zoo.
    – TimR
    Jul 23, 2017 at 11:38
  • 1
    In 5-8, it is safer to use during and avoid any ambiguity. 1) "Over the next two nights..." 2-4 you can omit on. The bottom line is try to omit vague and overused prepositions.
    – user3169
    Jul 23, 2017 at 16:58

1 Answer 1


I see that article you link is only a partial list of prepositions. To get the full list, the author suggests you buy the book. So I wouldn't take anything on that page to be 100% accurate or complete. Instead I would say that, with your examples, the use of "on" and "in" is optional.

You can see from this Ngram that the use of a phrase like "on the next day" has steadily decreased since 1900 (although the total number of sources is very small, so this might be an anomaly). It may be that the modern use of "the next day" without on would sound weird to someone from the 19th century.

If you choose to use on -- not something I prefer, but perfectly acceptable -- it helps to emphasize a particular point in time.

You will arrive the evening of the 10th. On the next morning you should be ready to start training at 6 am, so we recommend you get a good night's sleep.

The contract says we will be paid on the last day of the month.

In seems perfectly natural. A phrase like "in the last few days" is common and its use steady since 1940. Again, in is not necessary, but it can help emphasize that the action occurred continuously or regularly over a period of time.

In the last few months, we've seen a steady decrease in the price of crude oil.

In the last year, I've tried to go to the gym every day.

"Over" may sound more natural than "in" or "on", when talking about a period of time:

Over the next few nights, they evaluated the volunteers' sleep ...

The Commission has talked frequently about Robin Hood over the last couple of weeks.

Over the last year I've gone to the gym every day and lost 20 kg.

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