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Thread: In Vs. On

  1. Unregistered

    In Vs. On


    I have a question on the usage of 'in' and 'on' with regard to a specific case. Generally we say "I'm on a plane". This is the most accepted version as it generally is in reference to direction, place and/or movement (I'm on a plane to New york).

    When it comes to location however, my take is that the sentence "I'm in a plane...", as in showing relativity to another position or location, is not incorrect.

    A colleague of mine however insistes that "in" cannot be used with "plane" and remains quite stoic. Your thoughts?

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
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      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    Re: In Vs. On

    Compared to the bus questions, where I maintain that only "on" works for you as well as your belongs (left on the bus), I actually do feel more flexible about this one.

    Generally I would still use "on" for an airplane: We're at the gate now, but still on the plane. I'm in the back row, so it will be a while before we get off.

    I can imagine using "in" in a sentence like this one: There's nothing like being trapped in an airplane stuck on the runway, 23rd in line for takeoff, with a crying baby next to you and a six-hour flight ahead.

    That emphasizes the "trapped inside" aspect.

    Likewise, "Amazingly, only five minutes after the emergency landing, only four passengers and the crew remained the plane. More than 100 people got out in that time."

    In situations where you contrast it to "getting out" instead of "getting off" you could possibly use "in."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.


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