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Thread: on the tree...?

  1. terrenziqq's Avatar
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    on the tree...?

    If you want to say something is among leaves and branches of trees, which would you use, "in" or "on" the tree?
    If both are ok, in what way do they differ from each other?
    I heard both are ok while I think "in" is properer. Those who think both are ok say "on" is used only when something which is "on" the tree is not a part of the tree. For example, "Jack" is on the tree. People use "in" often when referring to "leaves on the tree" ...and so on. However, I think whatever is among leaves and branches, only "in" should be used. Which is right?
    Last edited by terrenziqq; 08-Jan-2010 at 18:35.

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
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    Re: on the tree...?

    (Not a teacher)

    I would say things which are part of the tree are 'on' it:

    The leaves on the tree.
    The branches on the tree.

    Things which are not part of the tree are 'in' it:

    The boy is in the tree.
    The cat was stuck in the tree.
    There's a carrier bag caught in the tree.
    Monkey's spend most of their life living in the trees.

    If you wanted to specify something was actually in the interior of the tree, then use 'inside':

    Many insects lay their eggs inside trees.
    Sap comes from inside trees.

    If you want to specify a person/thing in a tree, on a specific part of the tree, us 'on':

    The boy is sitting on the branch in the tree.
    There's a colourful caterpillar on the leaf in the tree.

    Both 'on the branch' and 'in the tree' are referring to 'the boy'.
    Similarly with the caterpillar.

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