I'm trying to write an essay about Prufrock.

Which of these sentences is grammatically correct?

it takes place in big, foggy city at a soft October night.
it takes place in big, foggy city in a soft October night.


Neither one is correct. The correct sentence is:

"It takes place in a big, foggy city on a soft October night."

| improve this answer | |

Ditto Bill Franke.

There's an odd pattern to the prepositions used with "when phrases". Normally, we say something happened "at" a time, "on" a day, and "in" a longer period of time.

It takes place at five o'clock.

It takes place at sundown.

It takes place on Thursday.

It takes place on the first day of August.

It takes place in October.

It takes place in 1992.

Prepositions for parts of the day get tricky. We generally say "in the morning" or "in the evening". Perhaps that makes sense if you think of "the morning" as a long period of time and an event takes just a moment "in" that time.

But we say "at night", which isn't really consistent. Sometimes people say "in the night", but that's rare and comes across as slightly poetic. On the other hand we routinely say "in the nighttime" and "in the daytime". Unless it's a specific night, in which case it becomes "on", like "on the night of October 1". That seems consistent to me because now we're talking about a date, so we use "on".

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.