Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Business English: Making decisions
Business English: Making decisions

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

1.3 Using prepositions of time

The following prepositions are used to indicate time.

In is used for periods of time such as months, seasons and years:

in the summer, in the autumn, in September, in June, in 1987.

On is used for days and dates:

on Tuesday, on 14 June, on my birthday.

Note that you say ‘on the 14th of June’ though you write ‘on 14 June’:

[Spoken] The brochure will be ready on the 14th of June.

[Written] The brochure will be ready on 14 June.

At is used for specific points of time:

at one o'clock, at 5 p.m., at lunchtime.

Exceptions are:

at Christmas, at Easter, at weekends.

No preposition is used with:

today, tomorrow, yesterday

and words preceded by last, this and next:

last month, this year, next week.

In Activity 4 you practise using prepositions of time that are essential for making plans and arrangements.

Activity 4

Complete the following sentences with a preposition if necessary. Note that in some cases no preposition is required.

Example

We talked ...... last month about the meeting.

We talked last month about the meeting. (No preposition needed.)

  1. We agreed to think it over ...... the summer.

  2. We can take the final decision ...... September.

  3. We can make the final preparations ...... the autumn.

  4. We can move ...... Christmas.

  5. The last time they wanted to relocate was ...... 1987.

  6. The best time would be ...... June.

  7. A meeting ...... Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday would be OK.

  8. There are always people away ...... Mondays and Fridays.

  9. They like to go away ...... weekends.

Answer

  1. We agreed to think it over in the summer.

  2. We can take the final decision in September.

  3. We can make the final preparations in the autumn.

  4. We can move at Christmas.

  5. The last time they wanted to relocate was in 1987.

  6. The best time would be in June.

    (Or without a preposition – The best time would be June.)

  7. A meeting on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday would be OK.

  8. There are always people away on Mondays and Fridays.

  9. They like to go away at weekends.

Drawing up an agenda is an essential part of preparing for a meeting. In the next three activities (the third of which is in Section 1.4) you look at guidelines for agendas, talk with colleagues to finalise one and inform people of the arrangements by sending out a memo and leaving telephone messages.

Writing the agenda for a meeting

An agenda:

  • helps everybody prepare for the meeting.Participants:

  • provides a document for reference.

  • sets out the order of business for the meeting.

  • helps decision making.

  • is the basis for the formal record of a meeting (the minutes).

An agenda should contain:

  1. Title: This should make clear what the meeting is about.

  2. Timing and venue: Attach directions if necessary.

  3. The people who will attend.

  4. Procedural business: This section may include approval of minutes from a previous meeting, apologies for absence, etc.

  5. Main agenda: Each item should be numbered and have:

    • (a) Topic: A brief descriptive title and/or a sentence describing the topic.

    • (b) Responsibility: The name of the person who will introduce each topic.

    • (c) Documents: Supporting documents should be numbered and indicated with the agenda item.

  6. Any other business (AOB): Opportunity for participants to raise other topics. These should be minor issues.

Activity 5

Memo
To:All staff
From:Billy Shepherd
Date:23 April
Subject:Draft Agenda for Relocation Meeting
This meeting is to inform staff of progress on the project. We will discuss the three short-listed locations and decide on the next steps in the process. There will be time for questions. Please read the attached documents before the meeting. I attach a draft agenda for the meeting. Please contact Fred Gooch or me if you have any questions.
B.S.

Items on the draft agenda have been muddled up below. Put them into the correct order, using the information from the guideline to help.

Answer

The correct order is D, C, E, G, A, F, B. The complete agenda is as follows:

Activity 6

Listen to the answerphone message and complete Billy Shepherd's message.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: Extract 12
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Show transcript|Hide transcript
Extract 12
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

[Answerphone] Fred Gooch's office. I'm not in the office at the moment but you can leave a message after the tone.

[Tone]

Fred. This is Billy Shepherd. Calling at 10 on Monday. ...... the relocation meeting. ...... talk about a time and date. I'll talk to you later.

Answer

The completed message is:

Fred. This is Billy Shepherd. Calling at 10 on Monday. I'm ringing about the relocation meeting. We'll need to talk about a time and date. I'll talk to you later.