Usually we use

In the morning

At night

Both of them represent time but why do we use different prepositions?

  • 1
    Have you ever walked in the night? – Cardinal Jun 16 '16 at 16:19
  • 7
    I'm afraid there's no more meaningful answer than "because". As with everything else in English, we've been holding a continual election on these uses for some fifteen hundred years and the current winners are in the morning and at night. – StoneyB on hiatus Jun 16 '16 at 16:31
  • There's nothing wrong with in the night, and it is used in some contexts; it's just not idiomatic as the parallel to in the morning/afternoon. There is no reason, that's just how it is. – Alan Carmack Jul 16 '16 at 19:15
  • @AlanCarmack let me croon at you: ♪ ♫ In the still ... of the niiight ... ♪ ♫ – Andrew Jan 31 '18 at 18:07

A general rule, is that words that are used with the preposition "the", use "in the", wheras if "the" is not needed, then use "at". Night is the main exception to this rule:

"At night"

"In the night"

Both make sense.


For example:

  • In the morning
  • In the evening
  • In the afternoon


  • At night
  • At 2 O' clock
  • At lunchtime
  • At midday

I don't know the origins or reasons for this, but it probably just developed over time like many language features.

  • At the weekend is quintessential British English. Also in general at the moment, at the solstice, at the time, I'm just not finding this answer all that convincing. – Alan Carmack Jul 16 '16 at 19:10

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