why ON

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jctgf

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Hi,

Could someone explain the origin of "on the radio/TV/computer/hard disk" and so on.

Why not "I listened it from the radio", given that the sound waves are produced inside the gadget and then spread all over the air?

Could it be because, in the past, there were only newspapers and books and the best proposition for bi-dimensional objects like that is actually ON? There is no "inside" in a newspaper/paper sheet, right?

An then, afterwards, when more modern communication means came by, the preposition ON was already established and simply continued to be used...?

thanks.
 

Horsa

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I don't know but it seems to me that a broadcast is carried to us on radiowaves so that maybe the reason. If so, TV for the same reason. Computer probably because of 'on the screen' or by association with TV. Hard disk - the two dimensional idea in your post seems reasonable.
 

engee30

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I don't know the origins that the preposition on has, but on can be used interchangeably with by means of or using in each and every example of yours.
;-)
 

Horsa

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An interesting observation but there are other sentences where that wouldn't work - There is an virus on the hard disk. Origins of use are difficult or impossible to determine in most cases.
 

jctgf

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thanks and sorry!
I was already told that those things actually have no "why" but, sometimes, I can't keep from questioning...
thanks again.
 

engee30

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An interesting observation but there are other sentences where that wouldn't work - There is a virus on the hard disk.

That's true, but the context provided by jctgf in his/her first post in this thread was clear to me - s/he was referring to the method of receiving/providing information and alike.
In your sentence it's obvious that you cannot use the phrases by means of or using as a substitute for on.
:roll:
 
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