English Prepositions: IN or ON?

http://www.engvid.com/ Is it ON Facebook, or IN Facebook? Did you read it ON the newspaper or IN the newspaper? In this short lesson, you will learn an easy trick to know when to use ‘in’ or ‘on’. It’s so easy, you’ll never confuse these words again! Using English prepositions correctly can be hard. But after you learn this tip, you won’t have any problems with ‘in’ and ‘on’. Take the quiz ON our site:


Hi. My name is Rebecca, and today’s lesson is about prepositions. Specifically, it’s about the two prepositions: “in” or: “on”. Okay? Now, I’m going to give you a useful tip so that you will know which one to use in certain kinds of situations.

So let’s look at the board. Okay, so what you need to decide is: are you talking about something that is written on paper or are you talking about something represented on an electronic device, for example? Okay? Let’s look at some examples.

You could say, for example: “I read it in a book.”, “I saw it in a comic.”, “I read it in the newspaper.”, “in a magazine”, or: “in an email”. Now, even though email is kind of seen on an electronic device, it is regarded as a letter. And a letter used to be something that came on paper, and so we still use that expression, “in” when we’re talking about emails. Okay? So things that come on paper or were traditionally on paper are with the proposition: “in”. Now, of course, today, you can find books, and comics, and newspapers, and magazines which are called ezines, and email online, on computers, and we can read them on computers. But the preposition is kind of based on the fact that originally, they were all on paper, so try to think of it in that way and it will help you to decide.

Now, when we look at electronic devices, we use the preposition: “on”. So: “He was speaking on the phone.”, “I saw it on TV.”, “I read it online”, or: “on the net”, or: “on the internet”. On my… “I was working on my computer.”, “I was working on my laptop.”, “I saw it on my tablet.” Or: “I watched the video on engVid.” So you can also use “on” when you’re talking about a website. Right? So those are for electronic devices. Okay? And this was paper. So if you’ve got that clear in your mind, let’s try some examples.

So what would you say here?
“__________ our textbook”.
I read it “in our textbook” or: “on our textbook”? What do you say? It’s written, right, it’s on paper, so: “in our textbook”.

“__________ the screen”.
I saw it… “on the screen”. Good.

“__________ the article”.
I read it… “in the article” or: “in an article”. Okay? Usually article might be in the newspaper or in a journal.

“__________ the poem”.
“in the poem” or: “on the poem”? “in the poem” again. Very good.

“__________ the journal”.
“in the journal”.

“__________ the radio”.
“on the radio”. Good.

“__________ the letter”.
“in the letter”.

And the last one:
“__________ the monitor”.
What would you say? “on the monitor”. Okay?

So we see, I hope you see how to use the prepositions: “in” and “on”. There are many different ways in which we can use these prepositions, but when we’re talking about something paper or something electronic, you now know what to do and which preposition to use. Okay? If you’d like some more practice on this, go to our website: www.engvid.com. Thanks very much for watching. Bye for now.

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