It’s time to look into some prepositions to see whether you can figure out when they work right! There are some rules that you might need to understand that change the meanings of certain phrases based on which preposition is used. This article will help you understand them.
Is It “At The Right,” “On The Right,” or “To The Right”?
“At the right” works when something is an absolute value relative to another. “At” can also be used in reference to time or places. “On the right” is correct when referring to physical positioning. “To the right” works when something is given a relative positioning to another thing.
To help you understand what we mean, we can put them in some examples:
- It happened at the right time, to say the least.
Here, “at” allows you to give a definitive “time” when something occurred. It’s an absolute value that will not change.
- I saw him on the right of me, but I didn’t stop to ask why.
“On” works when someone or something is physically positioned on the right side of another thing.
- You need to place it more to the right.
“To” is a relative position. It may change based on the context, but it is used mainly as a guideline.
The three phrases are not interchangeable in all ways, though “to” and “on” can be considered interchangeable when referring to specific positions.
Is It “At The Right Side” Or “On The Right Side”?
“On the right side” is the most common phrase used when referring to the physical location of something. “At the right side” is not used by native speakers because it does not allow you to show an accurate representation of where something is located.
- Correct: On the right side of the road, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for.
- Incorrect: At the right side of the street, you’ll see all the stores that are going to be useful to you.
At The Right
“At” refers to an absolute value. It is only used when referring to times or occurrences that are fixed and cannot be changed. It’s possible to relate the use of “at” to specific times or events.
- It will happen at the right time. You just have to be prepared for that time to take a while.
- I’m not sure this is set at the right temperature. We needed to double-check that before we went forward with this.
- Can you put it at the right time, please? My watch hasn’t shown me the right time for as long as I can remember!
- I didn’t think it was at the right moment. I was trying to think of a better time to mention it because I knew he was hurting.
- At the right time, you’ll understand what you need to say. If that time hasn’t happened yet, you can always wait.
On The Right
“On” is a more general preposition that refers to the physical location of something. It shows that it is placed “on the right” of whatever the subject is. “On the right” can also be synonymous with “on the correct” if someone is currently doing something that is correct.
For example, if you say “on the right of you,” it implies that something is located on the right-hand side of the person you’re speaking to. It’s an easy way to let someone know where they might be able to find something.
“On the right” can also mean “correct.” You might say, “you’re on the right track,” which means that someone is moving in the correct direction or following the direct ideas to come to a conclusion.
- It’s on the right as you go in. You’ll notice it because it sticks out like a sore thumb. Just try to pay a bit of attention.
- I don’t see it on the right side of the road. Maybe they moved it when they realized it was such a nuisance.
- You’re on the right track, but I think you still have more than you need to work out before we can take this any further.
- She’s not on the right path in life. I’m really worried about her future, and I’m not sure if there’s any way to save her.
- Are you on the right line? I thought I gave you a different number to contact if everything went wrong!
To The Right
“To” works to show the relative condition of something. It can work for a value or a specific position, but it is always relative to either the “right side” or someone or something or the “right way” to do something (i.e. “the correct way”).
“To” is relative compared to the absolute value of “at.” It allows someone to relate the position or correctness of something to another object in the sentence.
- The kettle is to the right of the toaster.
Here, we can see that “to” is used to position the “kettle” relative to the “toaster.” While this is a fairly dumbed-down way of looking at it, it’s still a great way to demonstrate how “to the right” works.
- If you place it a little more to the right, you’ll find that it works a lot better with the overall aesthetic of this room.
- It needs to be to the right a little more. That way, it’ll look much nicer overall, and I think it’ll bring the whole room together.
- It’s going to be set to the right temperature when we get to it. Until then, you’ll just have to trust that we know what we’re doing.
- We’re going to be sitting to the right of you. If you need anything more from us, just give us a shout.
- I want them to the right of me on stage. It’s the only way I can guarantee that I’ll get this right!
Is “At The Right,” “On The Right,” Or “To The Right” Used The Most?
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “to the right” is the most common choice of the three. “On the right” is also fairly common, but it’s not quite as popular as the “to” variation. “At the right” is the least popular, and it’s the one you’re least likely to come across.
You may also like: “On The Left” or “To The Left” – Difference Explained
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.