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  1. #1
    shatilof is offline Junior Member
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    Upon vs. On

    What difference does it make for a native speaker when they hear e.g. The smile on your face vs. The smile upon your face?

    The real question is of course broader: when/why longer prepositions are used instead of their shorter forms? Does it sound more sophisticated? Is it just the same?

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    bhaisahab's Avatar
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    'The smile upon your face' is unnatural.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  3. #3
    shatilof is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    'The smile upon your face' is unnatural.
    ..but why? Old fashioned? Outdated?

    I have just heard it in a song.

  4. #4
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    Quote Originally Posted by shatilof View Post
    I have just heard it in a song.
    Song lyrics have all sorts of expressions in them.

  5. #5
    shatilof is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    Quote Originally Posted by teechar View Post
    Song lyrics have all sorts of expressions in them.
    Ok, but when exactly would you say upon instead of just on

  6. #6
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    I can't think of any context in which "upon" has to be used instead of "on".

    He put the cup upon the table = He put the cup on the table.
    It depends upon what he decides to do = It depends on what he decides to do.
    He stood upon the egg = He stood on the egg.

    In each case, "on" is more natural.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  7. #7
    shatilof is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    What about stuff like:

    He climbed upon his horse and rode off.
    There is a television antenna upon every house in the neighborhood.
    The enemy was upon us and our soldiers had little time to escape.

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    In the first, I'd use "onto".
    In the second, I'd use "on".

    However, you have found an example (with your third sentence) in which "upon" is the standard use. Well done!
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  9. #9
    shatilof is offline Junior Member
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    Could there be a difference between AmE and BrE?

  10. #10
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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    Re: Upon vs. On

    Possibly. You'll have to wait for some responses from AmE speakers.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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