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  1. tzfujimino's Avatar
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      • Native Language:
      • Japanese
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      • Japan
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      • Japan

    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 2,695
    #1

    Birds are singing in/on the tree

    Hello.

    Birds are singing in the tree.

    The other day, one of my students said to me, "Can I say 'Birds are singing on the tree' instead of 'They are singing in the tree'?"
    I couldn't answer it.

    How should I explain it to her?

    Thank you.

  2. Piscean's Avatar
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      • Czech Republic
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      • Czech Republic

    • Join Date: Jul 2015
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    #2

    Re: Birds are singing in/on the tree

    If things are on a tree, they are normally growing there - nuts, blossom, fruit, leaves. If they are in a tree they are within what we might consider to be an imaginary bubble enclosing the branch/twig/leaf volume of the tree.

    Actually, as I was writing those words, I was thinking "This doesn't help at all". Just tell your learners that things grow on trees; birds, insects and other animals live, sing, hoot, perch, move around, etc, in trees.
    Last edited by Piscean; 07-Oct-2015 at 12:18. Reason: punctuation

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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      • United States
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      • United States

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 24,983
    #3

    Re: Birds are singing in/on the tree

    We also place decorations (e.g. Christmas) on trees.

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