- Use on for talking about things on surfaces.
There is an orange on the table.
He stood on the surface of the moon.
There is a restaurant on the top floor.
- Use on for talking about position on a line.
- For example, on the river, on the road.
Is the school on this side of the river?
There is frost on the road.
- Use in to talk about things which form part of a line.
He was in the queue.
Please line up in a row.
- On can have the meaning ‘attached to’.
He put the ring on Mary’s finger.
All the leaves on the tree turned yellow.
- Use on (and its opposite off) for talking about travelling (- traveling – US) on public transport (buses, coaches, trains, trams, planes and boats). Another way to remember this usage is that all these types of transport are large vehicles.
Let’s get on the bus.
I got on the train.
We rode on a boat.
- For talking about position in connection with cars, small boats and private planes we use in (and out).
“Is he by the car?” “No, he is in the car.”
She got in the taxi.
I got out of the taxi.
preposition of place ‘at’