In vs On ...

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Re: In vs On ...

Post by Kangas on Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:07 am

Hi MistyMoon,

I'm glad I could help you with this issue and that you find our Forum quite useful.

Please feel free to ask us your questions. Very Happy

Kind regards


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Re: In vs On ...

Post by MistyMoon on Tue Jun 26, 2012 7:35 pm

Excellent post Kangas

I'd like to thank a lot, because I'm part of the ones who have this doubt and doesn't know exactly when to use "in" and "on".

Keep up this good work.

I'm finding this forum extremely useful.

Kind regards


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In vs On ...

Post by Kangas on Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:14 pm

Some people have a bit of difficulty using the words in and on. They are very different words and have quite a different meaning, however for non natives they might cause a bit of confusion.

Generally speaking, in implies inside, on implies in contact with ... but there's more, and next you can find the definition of both words according to

  • In
    1. (used to indicate inclusion within space, a place, or limits): walking in the park.
    2. (used to indicate inclusion within something abstract or immaterial): in politics; in the autumn.
    3. (used to indicate inclusion within or occurrence during a period or limit of time): in ancient times; a task done in ten minutes.
    4. (used to indicate limitation or qualification, as of situation, condition, relation, manner, action, etc.): to speak in a whisper; to be similar in appearance.
    5. (used to indicate means): sketched in ink; spoken in French.
    6. (used to indicate motion or direction from outside to a point within) into: Let's go in the house.
    7. (used to indicate transition from one state to another): to break in half.
    8. (used to indicate object or purpose): speaking in honor of the event.

    9. in or into some place, position, state, relation, etc.: Please come in.
    10. on the inside; within.
    11. in one's house or office.
    12. in office or power.
    13. in possession or occupancy.
    14. having the turn to play, as in a game.
    15. Baseball . (of an infielder or outfielder) in a position closer to home plate than usual; short: The third baseman played in, expecting a bunt.
    16. on good terms; in favor: He's in with his boss, but he doubts it will last.
    17. in vogue; in style: He says straw hats will be in this year.
    18. in season: Watermelons will soon be in.

    19. located or situated within; inner; internal: the in part of a mechanism.
    20. Informal .
    a. in favor with advanced or sophisticated people; fashionable; stylish: the in place to dine; Her new novel is the in book to read this summer.
    b. comprehensible only to a special or ultrasophisticated group: an in joke.
    21. well-liked; included in a favored group.
    22. inward; incoming; inbound: an in train.
    23. plentiful; available.
    24. being in power, authority, control, etc.: a member of the in party.
    25. playing the last nine holes of an eighteen-hole golf course ( opposed to out): His in score on the second round was 34.

    26. Usually, ins. persons in office or political power ( distinguished from outs).
    27. a member of the political party in power: The election made him an in.
    28. pull or influence; a social advantage or connection: He's got an in with the senator.
    29. (in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) a return or service that lands within the in-bounds limits of a court or section of a court ( opposed to out).

    verb (used with object) British Dialect
    30. to enclose.

    31. be in for, to be bound to undergo something, especially a disagreeable experience: We are in for a long speech.
    32. in for it, Slang . about to suffer chastisement or unpleasant consequences, especially of one's own actions or omissions: I forgot our anniversary again, and I'll be in for it now. Also, British , for it.
    33. in that, because; inasmuch as: In that you won't have time for supper, let me give you something now.
    34. in with, on friendly terms with; familiar or associating with: They are in with all the important people.

  • On
    1. so as to be or remain supported by or suspended from: Put your package down on the table; Hang your coat on the hook.
    2. so as to be attached to or unified with: Hang the picture on the wall. Paste the label on the package.
    3. so as to be a covering or wrapping for: Put the blanket on the baby. Put aluminum foil on the lamb chops before freezing them.
    4. in connection, association, or cooperation with; as a part or element of: to serve on a jury.
    5. so as to be a supporting part, base, backing, etc., of: a painting on canvas; mounted on cardboard; legs on a chair.
    6. (used to indicate place, location, situation, etc.): a scar on the face; the book on the table; a house on 19th Street.
    7. (used to indicate immediate proximity): a house on the lake; to border on absurdity.
    8. in the direction of: on the left; to sail on a southerly course.
    9. (used to indicate a means of conveyance or a means of supporting or supplying movement): on the wing; This car runs on electricity. Can you walk on your hands? I'll be there on the noon plane.
    10. by the agency or means of: drunk on wine; talking on the phone; I saw it on television.
    11. in addition to: millions on millions of stars.
    12. with respect or regard to (used to indicate the object of an action directed against or toward): Let's play a joke on him. Write a critical essay on Shakespeare.
    13. in a state or condition of; in the process of: on strike; The house is on fire!
    14. subject to: a doctor on call.
    15. engaged in or involved with: He's on the second chapter now.
    16. (used to indicate a source or a person or thing that serves as a source or agent): a duty on imported goods; She depends on her friends for encouragement.
    17. (used to indicate a basis or ground): on my word of honor; The movie is based on the book.
    18. (used to indicate risk or liability): on pain of death.
    19. (used to indicate progress toward or completion of an objective): We completed the project on budget.
    20. assigned to or occupied with; operating: Who's on the switchboard this afternoon?
    21. Informal . so as to disturb or affect adversely: My hair dryer broke on me.
    22. Informal . paid for by, especially as a treat or gift: Dinner is on me.
    23. taking or using as a prescribed measure, cure, or the like: The doctor had her on a low-salt diet.
    24. regularly taking or addicted to: He was on drugs for two years.
    25. Informal . with; carried by: I have no money on me.
    26. (used to indicate time or occasion): on Sunday; We demand cash on delivery.
    27. (used to indicate the object or end of motion): to march on the capital.
    28. (used to indicate the object or end of action, thought, desire, etc.): to gaze on a scene.
    29. (used to indicate subject, reference, or respect): views on public matters.
    30. (used to indicate an encounter): The pickpocket crept up on a victim.

    31. in, into, or onto a position of being supported or attached: Sew the buttons on.
    32. in, into, or onto a position of covering or wrapping: Put your raincoat on.
    33. fast to a thing, as for support: Hold on!
    34. toward a place, point, activity, or object: to look on while others work.
    35. forward, onward, or along, as in any course or process: further on.
    36. with continuous activity: to work on.
    37. into or in active operation or performance: Turn the gas on.

    38. operating or in use: The television set was on. Is your brake on?
    39. taking place; occurring: Don't you know there's a war on?
    40. performing or broadcasting: The radio announcer told us we were on.
    41. Informal .
    a. behaving in a theatrical, lively, or ingratiating way: Around close friends, one doesn't have to be on every minute.
    b. functioning or performing at one's best: When she's on, no other tennis player is half as good.
    42. scheduled or planned: Anything on after supper?
    43. Baseball . positioned on a base or bases: They had two men on when he hit the home run.
    44. Cricket . noting that side of the wicket, or of the field, on which the batsman stands.

    45. Cricket . the on side.

    46. on and off, off ( def. 22a ) .
    47. on and on, at great length, so as to become tiresome: They rambled on and on about their grandchildren.
    48. on the bow, Nautical . bow3 ( def. 8 ) .
    49. on to, aware of the true nature, motive, or meaning of: I'm on to your little game.



Last edited by Kangas on Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:05 am; edited 1 time in total

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