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  1. Crowned 91's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Italian
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      • Italy
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    • Join Date: Apr 2014
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    #1

    on or in?

    Hello!

    Could you please help me figure out whether I have used the correct preposition in the following sentences?

    1) He was sitting on the couch/ on the sofa/ on a bench.
    2) The rightful king should sit on the throne.
    3) She was sitting on a rock.
    4) I am sitting on a stool.
    5) The students were sitting on the floor.
    5) He told them to remain in their seats.


    As far as the words "bed", "armchair" and "chair" are concerned, I have found that "in" and "on" are both possible, but they convey different ideas.

    6) She is sitting in her bed. (She is under the bed coverings )
    7) She is sitting on her bed. (She is on the bed coverings )
    8) She was sitting on the armchair. (She was sitting on the armrests)
    9) She was sitting in the armchair.

    I have read that with the word “chair” the preposition depends on the type of chair.

    10) She was sitting in the chair. (Maybe a comfortable one, with armrests ? )
    11) He was sitting on the chair. (Maybe a less comfortable one, without armrests?)

    I have also found that with small things one is more likely to use on rather than in.

    12) She forgot her mobile phone on a bench/ on the sofa/ on the couch/ on a rock/ on the stool/ on a chair/ on the armchair/ on her seat.
    13) She found her mobile phone in her bed (under the bed coverings ?)
    14) She found her mobile phone on her bed (on the bed coverings ?)

    Last but not least

    15) The cat was sleeping in the chair/ in the armchair. (?)

  2. Calis's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: on or in?

    Your English be praised! I was dreading having to correct your massive post, but I didn't have to. I am, therefore, very sorry to nitpick about your spacing: no spaces between the end of a sentence and the question (or exclamation) mark, and no spaces between the end of a phrase and a bracket. Other than that, your English is perfect.

    About your questions:
    10 & 11) Whilst your connotations aren't wrong, I would be wary of taking this dichotomy as a hard and fast rule all the time.
    15) I would be more likely to say that the cat was sleeping on the (arm)chair, but in is permissible too.
    Apart from those, I can find no fault with your sentences or the connotations you have attached to them. Very well done on your English again.

    [Not a teacher]

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: on or in?

    I find "She forgot her mobile phone on a bench/sofa/chair etc" unnatural.

    She left her mobile phone on a bench.
    She forgot her mobile phone.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: on or in?

    I agree with ems. I've noticed before that AE speakers commonly say 'I forgot my keys at home'. BE speakers wouldn't say that.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: on or in?

    Yes, we AmE speakers do use "forgot" in that way. We also use "left". I see some advantage to the "forgot" use in certain contexts. If I say "I left my wallet in the car", it is not clear whether this was done on purpose or by mistake. "Forgot" clears up any confusion.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: on or in?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    I agree with ems. I've noticed before that AE speakers commonly say 'I forgot my keys at home'. BE speakers wouldn't say that.
    Almost. But that phrasing would sound redundant to us. We'd either say "I left my keys at home" or "I forgot my keys."

    I have no idea what a Brit would say.

  6. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: on or in?

    And yet Mike (another AmE speaker) just confirmed that "I forgot my keys at home" would be absolutely fine in AmE. In BrE, as I said in my first post, "I left my keys at home" or "I forgot/have forgotten my keys" would be natural.

    If someone said to me "I forgot my keys in the car", I would understand what they were trying to say but it would sound unnatural. If I didn't know what they meant, I would think they meant "I forgot [that] my key's in the car" or "I have some keys which I frequently think about but while I was in the car, I was distracted and I forgot they existed". I realise the latter is ridiculously unlikely but the logic exists.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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