Learn English – On Saturday afternoon or in the Saturday afternoon


She said she would give me her final answer on Saturday afternoon.

Should it be in the or on in this case?

Best Answer

The choice of prepositions depends upon the temporal context in which you're speaking. "On ~ afternoon" implies that the afternoon is a single point in time; thus, that temporal context would take the entire afternoon as one of several different afternoons, or in other words, one would use "on" when speaking within the context of an entire week.

"In ~ afternoon" suggests that the afternoon is a temporal space in-and-of-itself, wherein anything that happens will happen amongst many other events. In other words, the temporal context for this usage would be if one were speaking of a single day -- whether past, present, or future -- and of a single afternoon, during which many things might happen.

Think of it like this:

"She called me Saturday morning, and said she'd give me her answer in the afternoon."

In the above example here, one can only use "in", and not "on". Similarly, one uses "in" in the following example, as well:

"She will call early Saturday morning to check in, and will give me her final answer in the afternoon."

In the following example, though, one must use "on":

"She called me yesterday afternoon, and said her mornings are too busy to talk. She's still not sure what her plans are for Sunday, so she'll only be able to give me her answer on Saturday afternoon."

As the above commentator suggests, one can never say "in the Saturday afternoon" -- but i think you already know that. In any event, from the above two examples i think it's clear that the choice of "in the afternoon" versus "on Saturday afternoon" depends on the temporal frame of reference, and the context in which you're speaking.