at/in English lessons

Hi everyone,
Please, check if the following sentences are correct:

  1. We read and write at English lessons.
  2. We read and write in English lessons.
  3. We read and write in English.
  4. We are going to have a test on English.
    Does the sentence #3 have almost the same meaning as the first one?

Depending on the context, #3 could be the same as #2. As long as it is understood that we are talking about lessons.
After school one day, I could ask my daughter, “What did you do in English today?” and she would know I was talking about her English lesson, not English in general. But it needs the context.

About #1 and #4, I would say ‘in English lessons’, not ‘at English lessons’, though it may be possible, and we are having a test ‘in’ English, would sound more natural than ‘on’ English.

Hope it helps

Super big Thank You for your detailed explanation Thredder, but I’m still little bit confused because #4 has been taken from the textbook.
And one more question, if you please. In your opinion, does it sound natural: “We read and write at the lessons” and “We read and write in English lessons”?

OK, I think there are 3 possible interpretations:

  1. We read and write IN / DURING English lessons.
    (regular, repeated actions in the present)

  2. We read and wrote IN / DURING THE English lessons last week.
    (regular, repeated actions in the past; THE is necessary to restrict the scope of meaning to a period)

  3. We read and wrote IN / DURING English lessons.
    (back at school, when we were still at school, i.e. we were students)

“We read and write at the lessons” sounds weird to me because of ‘at’.
I don’t think “at (the) lessons” as a collocation exists.

Hope to have been of service. :wink:

Thks Kogyuri, but nonetheless “at (the) lessons” has been taken from English textbook, it’s not my fantasy. That is why I’m trying to figure out whether it’s correct or not.

I’ve checked it in Oxford Collocations Dictionary 2nd Edition (2009).
Lesson (as a noun meaning “period of teaching or learning”) can only take
DURING / IN as prepositions.
Another example from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 8th Ed. (2010):
“You can’t expect to learn all there is to know about the subject IN a 45-minute lesson.”

Maybe you’ve read “at the lesson” in an American English textbook, dunno.


Well, it’s an English textbook published in Russia, but… Thredder said: “though it may be possible”. Any other opinions?

Is the author of the book British / American (a native speaker)? Well, if not …
“At English lessons” sounds strange to me.


  1. We often talk and read IN = DURING the English lessons. (at school)
  2. We read and write in English. (it is the language used)
  3. We’re going to have a test in English. (English is the language supposed to be used)
  4. We’re going to have a test ON 18th century English literature / IN grammar. (topic / theme covered)

What is not evident to me in (4) is the use of IN / ON as prepositions before {theme / topic / field / domain},
but I think IN should be used before a scientific field / subject & ON with reference to more specific categories.
e.g.1 They had a test IN history.
e.g.2 They had a test ON the ancient history of Egypt.

The same may be true for “English” >>> an allusion to English SOMETHING (grammar, literature, etc.),
or the language itself.

That sounds reasonable Kogyuri, I second your point of view. But if I could wish something else, it’d be that native English and American speakers share their opinions about this subject.

Native speakers are not infallible either (a lot depends on age, location, education, etc.) :slight_smile:
Nonetheless, to be honest I’ve also got a thing with natives (they’re hot!). XD
After having aroused my interest with my latter point (4), I’ll start a new thread on it.

Good luck with the answer hunt!

This particular native British speaker agrees with Kogyuri’s points in message #8.

Oh, that cuts a lot of debate. I must say I’m about to see it, too. And what about ‘at the lesson’ Beeesneees?

P.S. I’d like to say my particular Thank Youuu :slight_smile:

I agree with Kogyuri’s view on that too - it sounds strange.

Your answer draws me to a deplorable conclusion: some certified English textbooks have nothing to do with real English. Luckily, there is this wonderful forum where we can settle such problems.

P.S. Sorry for bothering you so much, but let’s consider one more example:

  • Where are you?
  • I’m at the lessons (=at school).

Does it sound odd? What would be your answer?

Where are you?
I’m in lessons.
I’m at school.
I’m in school.
I’m in a lesson at school.
I’m in class.
I’m in class at school.

Fine. The story draws to its close. Thank everybody for the participation.
P.S. It was a great pleasure to chat with such an amiable and particular native English speaker as u are, Beeesneees.