Before writing about things happening “in the evening,” you need to make sure you have the right preposition in place. You might hear of some people using “on the evening” or “at evening,” and this article will explore which the correct version is.
Is It “On The Evening,” “In The Evening,” Or “At Evening”?
“In the evening” is correct when you want to refer to something that’s generally happening within an evening period. “On the evening” is correct when you want to reference a specific time or day for the “evening” you’re talking about. “At evening” is never correct.
We could treat these prepositions as a hierarchy. Interestingly enough, “in” (which is usually a specific time-based preposition) is the most general of the three prepositions.
After that, we have “on,” which allows us to be specific about a time or day. However, “at” is supposed to refer to the absolute most specific time, ut “evening” is already specific enough. So, “at” is almost too specific to be used correctly (which is why it’s not used).
What Does “In The Evening” Mean?
“In the evening” works well when we are talking about something that takes place during the course of an evening. We do not have to rely on specifics here, as “in the evening” typically refers to today’s evening rather than any other day.
It can refer to other evenings (past or future), but that depends entirely on the context.
- I’m going to see them again in the evening. I think you should come along with me to see how they’re doing.
- What’s happening in the evening? I haven’t been keeping up with current affairs, I’m afraid.
- I’ll see you in the evening. Don’t be late this time because there are some important things to go through.
- Why can’t we do this later in the evening? I’m sure we’d still be able to sort everything out exactly as we’d hoped.
- You should talk to him again in the evening. I think you’ll be able to get more out of him that way.
- It’s not going to happen in the evening. We simply can’t find a way to get this to work correctly, and I don’t want to push it.
- It’s in the evening tomorrow, and I understand if you’re not able to make it. Please let me know, though.
What Does “On The Evening” Mean?
“On the evening” always requires further clarification. It’s likely that you’ll say something like “on the evening of the party,” where “the party” works as a clarification for a specific frame of time.
“On the evening” will not work on its own. You can’t use it in this way because it does not allow us to use “on” correctly as a preposition. If you don’t have a specific event or date after “on,” it’s likely that “in” is the better choice.
- I’ll see him on the evening of the sixth. If he can’t make it, then I’ll be having words with his supervisor.
- On the evenings I’m working this week, I’ve got to make sure I can discuss a pay raise with my boss.
- You should see me on the evening of my birthday. I would really like to celebrate it with you, after all.
- It’s going to have to be on the evening of the thirteenth. I’m sorry, but that’s the only time that works for me.
- Shall we go on the evening of Friday? I think that’s the best time, and it’s going to have the best atmosphere.
- You’ll have to try it on the evening of the ninth. It’s the only time that makes logistical sense, after all.
- I’ll need you there on the evening of the party. It’s going to be a busy time for all of us.
Is It Ever Correct To Use “At Evening” And “At The Evening”?
It’s never correct to use “at evening” or “at the evening.” This does not apply because we are always able to list specific events that can occur at different times “in the evening.” “At” would imply that “evening” is a general period, which is not correct.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “in the evening” is the most popular choice, and “on the evening” is second. There is almost no mention of “at” being used in either case, showing that neither form is correct.
Are “On The Evening” And “In The Evening” Interchangeable?
“On the evening” and “in the evening” are not interchangeable. The prepositional differences might be subtle, but they’re clear enough to show that you can’t overlap them in any way.
We can’t use “on the evening” like “In the evening” because “on” always requires us to be specific about a certain day.
- Correct: I’ll see you in the evening.
- Incorrect: I’ll be there on the evening.
Likewise, we can’t be specific after using “in,” so the following examples are not interchangeable either:
- Correct: I’ll be there on the evening of the party.
- Incorrect: He’ll see you in the evening of the sixth.
When Should I Use “During The Evening”?
“During the evening” is similar to “in the evening.” We use it to show that something is taking place throughout the course of an evening. It can refer to any time during that evening without relying on being specific about it.
You can use “during” and “in” interchangeably in most cases. These examples will show you how “during the evening” works, but feel free to replace “during” with “in” to see how they work together:
- He visited us during the evening festivities. It was quite a nice surprise if you asked me.
- I’ll be there during the evening. You’ll have to come and see me if you want to discuss this further.
- She won’t come during the evening. She has plenty of other things to worry about.
Is “In Evening” Correct?
“In the evening” always needs “the” to allow us to be specific about the period of the evening. “In evening” is incorrect because it does not allow us to show this specificity in the same way. You should not use “in evening.”
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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.