Differences Between In and On with Adequate Examples

Filed in Education by on May 1, 2024

What is the differences between in and on? Many times, people mix them up in sentences and conversations. However, as you read on we will be guiding you on how to differentiate them and use them appropriately.

Differences Between In and On

Differences Between In and On

We commonly use prepositions to show a relationship in space or time or a logical relationship between two or more people, places, or things. In a sentence, a preposition is usually accompanied by a noun phrase or pronoun.

In the English Language, there are lots and lots of prepositions describing the position and relationship between objects and events.  Although most prepositions are individual words, some pairs and groups of words operate like single prepositions.

In and On

For most English learners, understanding prepositions is a bit dicey and it doesn’t get easier trying to understand how to effectively use the prepositions ‘in’ and ‘on’.

However, most times either ‘in’ or ‘on’ is suitable for the sentence (and still be grammatically correct) but each of the prepositions can change the entire meaning of the statement.

Using ‘In’

The word ‘in’ is used as a function word to indicate inclusion, location, or position within the limit.

It is proper to use ‘in’ when you are implying a position for spaces with limitations. ‘In’ is used to convey that something is enclosed or inside.

Example:

1. She left for a swim in the pool.

2. The salesman is in the Bahamas.

3. Mark is in New Mexico.

4. These guys don’t do well in volleyball.

5. In Calabar, everybody is a king.

6. The yellow roses will bloom in April.

7. He works in the Department of Justice.

8. She moved in with her boyfriend this weekend.

9. Please, I kept the shirt in my room.

10. The Lord mighty in battle.

Using ‘On’

The preposition ‘On’ indicates proximity and position above or atop a space. Generally, ‘On’ used to express the surface of something.

Example:

1. The stick hit me on my shoulder.

2. She grabbed me and kissed me on my lips.

3. Is your name in the Book of Life?

4. Your brother is never on time.

5. Who is on the other side of the fence?

6. My grandfather is on the phone right now.

7. My favorite comedian is on air.

8. The gadgets are on your sister’s bed.

9. Is my name on the list?

10. He makes the most money when he is on tour.

Notable Distinctions Between ‘In’ and ‘On’

1. ‘In’ is used when something is inside or in an enclosed space and ‘on’ is used when something is on top of a surface.

2. ‘In’ is used to indicate that someone or something belongs to or is included as part of something

Example: Joseph is in the choir.

3. ‘In’ is used during a specific period of time, a season

Example:

i. We will go shopping in November.

ii. That actually happened in the 1980s.

4. ‘In’ is often used at the end of (a period of time)

Example: I’ll be out in an hour.

5. ‘In’ is used to emphasize the order of arrangement.

Example: The goods are in a circle.

6. The Preposition ‘on’ is used to indicate a part or entire object giving support.

Example: How long can you stand on one foot?

7. ‘On’ is used to underline attachment between objects.

Example: She hung the painting on the wall.

8. ‘On’ is also used where someone or something is hit or touched

Example: I bumped my head on a low branch.

9. ‘On’ emphasizes the upmost part of a thing.

Example: There is no good score on the card.

10. ‘In’ used for something general, something that’s bigger.

You can check out some other articles that may be of interest to you on this platform.

CSN Team

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