Could someone explain to me why the preposition "at" is used in this article: Abortion in the United States?

From the article:

Abortion in the United States has been and remains one of the most controversial issues in United States culture and politics. Various anti-abortion laws have been on the statute books of each state since at least 1900. At 1973, abortion was prohibited entirely in 30 states and legal in limited circumstances (such as pregnancies resulting from rape or incest) in 20 other states.

Is this usage incorrect?


1 Answer 1


Yes, this is incorrect. Years should be preceded with "in".

"At" can be used with clock time (3:45 PM), "midnight", "noon", and "night".

  • I think the writer of the Wikipedia article is trying to distinguish between "In 1973, abortion was illegal in 30 states" and "In 1973, abortion was made illegal in 30 states." But you're right that using "at" isn't the right way to do that. Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 17:49
  • I think the intended meaning is "At the start of 1973, abortion was prohibited..." (meaning that the prohibition was already in force at the start of 1973, not that the law came into effect on 1 January 1973). The next sentence describes the changes made during 1973. "At 1973" isn't what I would recognise as correct English.
    – alephzero
    Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 21:08
  • @alephzero Yes, though "At the start of 1973, abortion was prohibited" is ambiguous between the two meanings you give. The ambiguity arises because "prohibited" could be either an adjective or a verb. Commented Apr 19, 2015 at 23:16
  • 2
    It seems "As of [mm/dd] 1973..." would have been clearer if they were referring to the situation at that time. Commented Apr 20, 2015 at 7:58

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