I looked up Google Ngram and found that we can use any one of at, in, on before break, but we can only say at lunch break and on lunch break.

Is what I've got right and do they have any difference when used with different preposition?

  • Not necessarily only one preposition. Trying to make someone go through a doorway immediately, for example, you could say Go on it at once! Sep 14, 2018 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


You are wrong. You cannot say 'in lunch break'.

So both can be at, on. Neither can be in.

"In the lunch room", "in the break room" are acceptable.

  • It might well be fairly non-idiomatic to say in lunch break in most contexts, but that's primarily because we'd normally expect an article or other determiner regardless of which specific preposition is used. I read the paper in my lunch break sounds fine to me, as does the same with on, but personally I don't much like at in that context. Sep 14, 2018 at 17:25
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    As an American, that sounds wrong to me. "in my lunch break" would make me say, "you mean in the lunch room?". "At lunch" is about as common a phrase as you can hear over here. "at lunch break" is awkward, but doesnt sound wrong. Sep 14, 2018 at 17:28
  • I think you are wrong to say the OP was wrong. The question seems to say we can say any of the following: "in break" "on break" or "at break", but we can only say "at lunch break" and "on lunch break". So, the OP's assumptions agree with your assertions.
    – J.R.
    Sep 14, 2018 at 17:46
  • I'm surprised, but comparing relative prevalence of the AmE corpus and the BrE corpus for in the lunch break suggests that particular prepositional use is about 4 times more common on my side of the pond. A little-known usage split! Sep 14, 2018 at 17:49
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    @J.R. I said "in break" was incorrect. That is why I said the OP was wrong. However after reading FF's comments, I think these may all be more dialect based than I realized. Sep 14, 2018 at 17:52

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