Common Preposition Patterns – on OR in
Prepositions are often a tricky part of learning any new language, and English is by no means an exception. It can be hard to know exactly when to use which preposition without being given strict rules.
You can check out one of our previous posts, Common Preposition Mistakes, if you want to brush up on some of the rules.
In my opinion, it’s very effective for you to listen to common examples and to take note of what people say. They are so commonly used, that sooner or later you’re going to know the patterns without rules.
So, today we have a short task for you to check your preposition use based on two of the most common words. Go ahead and pause the audio, and take your time to answer the questions below.
Afterwards, we’ll look at some of the common patterns.
ON or IN
- I am going __________ a minute.
- But I have something __________ my shirt.
- Anyway, let’s meet _________ Friday?
- I cannot fix my bike until sometime __________ March.
- So I’ll get _________ the bus today.
- Talk to you __________ a bit.
Welcome back. Let’s take a look at the answers.
- I am going in a minute.
I am lying in bed / I am sleeping on the sofa (You sleep in bed (that is, under the blankets/duvet, but you lye on the bed (on top of the duvet)
2. But I have something on my shirt.
He has a hat on his head / He has pain in his head (So, you have something on your head, but pain in your head)
What’s on your mind? / Do you have an idea in mind? (You have things on your mind, but ideas in mind)
3. Anyway, let’s meet on Friday?
4. I cannot fix my bike until sometime in March.
(You meet on a day but in a month)
5. So I’ll get on the bus today.
So, this can sound funny in some languages, because when you say “on” you might imagine being on the roof. In English, it’s kind of okay to say, “I’m in the bus.” However, much more correct to say, “I’m on the bus.”
I’m on the train, but you’re in the car.
Yes, you can be on the train or bus or plane, but you are never on the car: Alway in the car.
6. Talk to you in a minute.
So, you talk in 10 minutes, but you talk on Friday, that is, a specific day. This one, we had before.
Great. I hope you found this useful. Next week we will look at two more common prepositions, so check back for that. See you.