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Which of the following prepositions would be most appropriate to be used before Wednesday night and the night of Christmas Eve when referring at exactly during these time(s) (not before or after)?

  • at the night of Christmas Eve
  • on the night of Christmas Eve
  • in the night of Christmas Eve
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What is the exact phrase where you would used those words? –  kiamlaluno Nov 28 '11 at 15:22
    
Let us say, "We can get together x Wednesday night" and "Since there was nothing I could do I wandered in downtown x the night of Christmas Eve" –  Everyman Nov 28 '11 at 15:30
    
I've edited the question to include some information that was buried in a comment on the first answer. –  JSBձոգչ Nov 28 '11 at 15:51
    
That is great. I appreciate your help. –  Everyman Nov 28 '11 at 15:56

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You don’t typically use a preposition there, but if you must, on is the correct one, because you are basically referring to a day, or a general time period within a day:

on Wednesday (night)
on (the night of) Christmas Eve

At is definitely not correct, because generally we use at for times, not dates. In is technically correct as well, because “in the night” means “during the night” or “at nighttime”, but you would still use on to attach a specific date:

I heard a strange sound in the night on Christmas Eve.

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That is the point I am mostly confused.I would use "on" before days, but I do not think it is referring to the day, rather the night of the day. This webpage says "We say in the morning, afternoon or evening BUT we say 'at night' " without mentioning this very night or any night esl.about.com/od/grammarintermediate/a/prepositions_of_time.htm –  Everyman Nov 28 '11 at 16:59
    
@Everyman: When you mention a date, use on. For example, “I like to go jogging in the morning” refers to a habitual action, whereas “I went jogging on the morning of the 18th” or “on Friday morning” mentions a particular day. –  Jon Purdy Nov 28 '11 at 17:24
    
For British English, I would disagree with Jon's first statement: I find "I'm coming Wednesday" to be rather American. It does get used informally in the UK, but I would not write it. –  Colin Fine Nov 28 '11 at 18:14

In the examples you make, there is no need to use any preposition.

We can get together Wednesday night.
Since there was nothing I could do, I wandered downtown the night of Christmas Eve.

At least in American English, you can use a weekday as adverb, such as in the following sentences:

We will try again Friday. (We will try again on Friday.)
See you Wednesday. (See you on Wednesday.)

This usage is reported to be chiefly North American, from the OED.

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I cannot remember the questions so I made up these ones. I guess I had better get the exact questions. Thank you anyway. –  Everyman Nov 28 '11 at 16:08
    
I wouldn't use a preposition with downtown, either. Second best would be "in the downtown [area]". Just "in downtown" sounds... strange. –  Marthaª Dec 1 '11 at 23:14
    
@Marthaª I was focusing on the other part of the sentence that I didn't notice that. "I wandered downtown" sounds better to me too, considering that wander can be used without object, and downtown can be used as adverb. –  kiamlaluno Dec 1 '11 at 23:42

That's going to be rather a long list. Just considering prepositions beginning with a and b, here are some example phrases which would be appropriate:

  • (on or) about Wednesday night
  • after Wednesday night
  • around Wednesday night
  • before Wednesday night
  • besides Wednesday night
  • between Wednesday night (and …)
  • beyond Wednesday night
  • by Wednesday night

The same list will be appropriate for "the night of Christmas Eve".

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Sorry I was not very clear in the question. I am referring to "during" or "exactly" at/in/on a given time.. I was supposed to choose "at", "on", or "in." –  Everyman Nov 28 '11 at 15:32

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