In vs. On

It is true that Prepositions is one of the most hated part of a language. Even experienced writers sometimes get uncomfortable using them. Often people are confused with comparable prepositions especially the prepositions IN and ON.

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Difference between In and On

Some times either IN or ON can be grammatically correct. It tottly depends upon what you actually mean in your statements.

In this article, there are some guidelines on how best to use these two most commonly misused prepositions.

Comparison Chart

Meaning In is a preposition, commonly used to reveal a situation When something is surrounded or enclosed by something else. On describes a preposition that communicates a situation when something is positioned above something else.
Pronunciation in on
Usage by time Months, Years, Season, Decades and Century. Days, Dates and Special Occasions.
Usage by place Name of city, city, state, and nation. Street names.
Example ·She’s sitting in her room. I’ll meet her on Monday.
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Definition of In

It is Advisable to use IN whenever you’re indicating a position for distances with limitations. IN is used to convey that something is surrounded or inside. For Instance,

  • The bee is in the beehive.
  • The email in the mailbox.
  • The document is in the disc.

While, ON is used to denote a position for a position just outside or above a place. Example,

  • The book is put on the table.
  • Charlie sat on the stool.
  • Jane had a tattoo on his arm.

IN is used To denote a minute enclosed in time. It’s therefore used with other areas of the day, with months, with years, with seasons. Some examples of them are,

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  • I would love to drink tea in the morning.
  • Andrea’s wedding is in October.
  • A lot of terrorist actions happened in 2001.
  • The flowers will bloom in spring.

Definition of On

ON is used With dates and days. Additionally, it may be utilized in special areas of the day and special vacations. Distinctively, ON is used if you don’t enclose something — time included ñ it’s with relative specificity.

  • I’ll see you on Friday!
  • My retirement is effective on June 23.
  • The event occurred on the morning of January 14.
  • We search for colorful eggs on Easter Sunday.

ON is used with street names. On the other hand, IN is used with the names of towns, cities provinces, states, and countries.

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  • I am on Elm street, meet me, Freddie.
  • Jiu-jitsu is large in Brazil.
  • There are several celebrities in California!

There are Some special considerations of using both of these prepositions and it would be best to learn them from experience.

Prepositions and Time

Let us begin by looking at how we talk about time. English Speakers utilize in to refer to some general, more extended period, like months, years, decades, or even centuries. By way of instance, we say in April, in 2015 or in the 21st century.

Moving to shorter, more specific Intervals, we utilize on to Discuss particular dates, dates, and holidays. You will hear, I went to work on Monday, or Let’s have a picnic on Memorial Day.

For the most specific times, and vacations without the Word”day,” we utilize at That means you’ll hear, Meet me at midnight, or The flowers are in bloom at Easter time.

Prepositions and Position

When English speakers refer to some location, we utilize in for The biggest or most typical places. It is possible to say that “He is located in Washington, D.C. and for the best food, try the restaurants in Chinatown.”

For more specific areas, like certain roads, we use the preposition on. You will know that President Obama lives on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

Finally, we reach the most specific areas. For exact Addresses or intersections, we use the preposition in . If I invited you to see at VOA, I’d say,”Come to my office at 330 Independence Avenue.” To be exact, it is in the corner of Independence and 3rd Street.”

Key Differences between In and On

  1. In suggests a preposition, that reflects a situation in which something is covered by something else. While on is used in the situation when something is in physical contact with the surface of another object.
  2. In is usually used when we talk about months, years, seasons, decades and centuries. As against,’on’ is used when we’re referring to times, dates and special occasions.
  3. If we talk about a location, usually’in’ is used with the name of this town, city, state and country, While  ‘on’ is used with street names.
  4. IN is used when You’re referring something enclosed by Limitations while using IN is relatively specific and doesn’t denote anything enclosed.
  5. IN is used to specify a location of something inside a space where on Generally, denotes something over a surface or within proximity.
  6. Whether It’s used with time or place, normally, IN is general as compared To the particular implications of ON.


To know the difference between in and on, one has to know about their applications first. Secondly, there are certain rules regarding the usage of these words in and on, which must be understood clearly, to use them properly and confidently in the sentences.

Explanatory Video

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