While most of the nouns denoting parts of the day are used either with "at.." or "in the.." prepositions (in the morning / afternoon / evening / daytime; at nighttime / noon / night / midday / midnight / dawn / dusk / sunrise / sunset / sundown / daybreak / nightfall)

"daylight" and "twilight" seem to go beyond the dichotomy:

At daylight on the 7th of October 1813 he crossed the Bidassoa...

In daylight, he was almost approachable.

Let us walk with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy.

..legions of these delicate minute flies fill the air at twilight..

We are always living in twilight..

..farmers starting for Boston in the twilight..

So what's the difference between the three patterns: "at N", "in N", "in the N"?


At daylight means the moment in time when daylight begins. “At midnight, the vampire arose. At daylight, the vampire exploded.”

In daylight means bathed in the light of day. “In artificial light, vampires look pale. In daylight, vampires explode.”

  • Thank you, MετάEd, so, while "at daylight" ~ "at dawn", "in the daylight" could mean ~ "in the daytime"? – Kostya Hmelnitski May 2 '16 at 22:26
  • Examples testifying that "in the daylight" might mean "in the daytime": parallel translations of Romans 13:13 [biblehub.com/romans/13-13.htm] as in the daytime, as in daytime, as in the day, as in the daylight – Kostya Hmelnitski May 2 '16 at 22:53
  • @KostyaHmelnitski Those are evidence the translators disagree on the meaning of the text, not evidence the two phrases have the same meaning. – MetaEd May 3 '16 at 15:53
  • 1
    @KostyaHmelnitski "In the daylight" is not the same as "in the daytime". It can be daytime even in a cave where no daylight reaches you. So you might be doing something in the daytime but not in the daylight. – MetaEd May 3 '16 at 15:56

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