Prepositions are small words, but they are very important ones. The biggest problem most ESL students face in learning English is the inability to use prepositions correctly. Here is a list of some common preposition + noun combinations which often cause problems. Note that this is not an exhaustive list. For information about other preposition + noun combinations, see a good dictionary.
At the cinema; at the theatre; at a party; at university
What is on at the cinema this week?
He met her at a party.
He was my senior at university.
A book by Jane Austen; a painting by Picasso, a concerto by Mozart; a film by Fassbinder
I have read almost everything by Jane Austen.
It is a film directed by Fassbinder.
By car / bike / bus / train / boat / plane / land / sea / air;
Let’s go by car.
But we say: on the bus; on the train; on the flight; on the ship; on foot etc.
There is no room on the bus.
She is arriving on the 6:30 train.
In the end = finally, after a long time
In the end, I got a good job.
At the end = at the point where something stops.
There is a library at the end of the street.
The film is a bit weak at the end.
In pen; in pencil; in ink etc.
Write in ink.
In a picture, photo etc.
She looks really pretty in this photo.
In the rain, snow etc.
He walked in the rain.
In a suit, shirt, skirt, hat, coat etc.
Who is that man in the white shirt?
On page (but in line)
There is a mistake in line 6 on page 18.
On the radio; on TV; on the phone
There is an interesting program on TV tonight.
It’s John on the phone and he wants to talk to you.
On time = at the planned time; neither late nor early
In time = before the last moment
The meeting must start on time.
He would have died if they hadn’t taken him to the hospital in time.