【これで間違えない!前置詞】The confusing usage of “in” and “on”

【これで間違えない!前置詞】The confusing usage of “in” and “on”

Hi there, it’s Min 🙂

I have recently been asked a lot about the usage of “in” and “on” and realized it is absolutely confusing, even for native speakers!

Although there are certain rules that say when “in” should be used and when “on” should be used, there are still many exceptions.

“on a car”?“in a car”?間違えやすい乗り物編

Let us take modes of transport as an example. We would generally use “on” when referring to modes of transport like how we would be “on a bus” or “on a train”. However, we would not say “on a car” unless we are describing someone physically sitting on the roof of a car. When referring to a car being your mode of transport, you would usually say “in a car”. But if we go back to the bus or train example, when “in” is used, we are actually referring to things that are physically inside the bus.

Example:

The bus driver is taking a nap in the bus before his next shift.

Some may also debate that with modes of transport, “on” is used when the vehicle is moving and “in” is used when it is not.

“on my mind” か “in my mind”?意味が違うんです!

Another commonly asked question is whether “on my mind” or “in my mind” is correct. Both these expressions are correct, they just have different meanings.

“On my mind” – something or someone you have been actively thinking about

“In my mind” – what you think or your opinion about something is

Example:

Mary has been on my mind since our last date.

I had a different image of it in my mind.

However, it is good to remember that the “mind” is something abstract and can mean something different depending on the context. It refers more to the thoughts that you have. If you want to talk about something physical then “head” such as “on my head” would be a better expression.

Example:

There is a butterfly resting on my head.

 

Have you experienced any other confusing episodes when using “in” and “on”?

I would love to hear!

 

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