Look at how tiny these prepositions are: in and on. Yet, their stature doesn't mean a thing. These two-letter words often trip English speakers up. Let's take a look at prepositions and the correct usage of in and on. We'll start with basic definitions and then explore several examples of each.
"In" is defined as inside an area, moving from a point outside to a point inside.
In Summary: "In" is used when you want to indicate a position within a limited space, but in a more general sense. It's best suited when you want to say something is contained within something else or inside something else.
"On" is used to indicate position, usually indicating that something is on top of something else.
In Summary: "On" is generally used when you want to indicate a position above or atop a space.
"At" is another tricky preposition. It's used to indicate what an action is referring to. Or, it's used to show a condition or something that's happening.
You could also say "at" is generally used to describe a static position. It's replaced with "in" or "on" when a more precise indication of location is needed. So, we might say, "He's at work," but then we'd also say, "He's in the office," when it's time to be more precise.
The reason prepositions become tricky is because they're all connectors. So, they have the same function, but they work in very different ways. Here's further discussion about at and how it is used.
In Summary: "At" is used when you want to escape specificities and indicate a general location. Alternatively, it's also used to show a condition or something that's happening, as in, "He's looking at her."
"Into" is defined as moving from the outside to the inside. Sound familiar? That's the exact same definition as "in." An example of "into" would be, "He walked into the ballroom."
Even though their definition is the same, we've come to use the two words differently. Here's how to differentiate between the two and make sure your grammar/usage is always on point. When you find yourself torn between "in" and "into," ask yourself this: Is someone or something moving from one place to another? If so, the correct choice is "into." So, we'd say, "He's moving out of the old apartment and into his new home today."
In Summary: "Into" is used when you want to indicate that someone or something is moving from one place to another, not just moving into a limited or specific space.
It's safe to say prepositions are one of the least-liked parts of speech. They're tricky and they come with a slew of rules. Since they're so easily tangled, it can be frustrating when precision is key. Fear not. Just remember their root value: they're connectors. Then, you can commit some of these nittier and grittier rules to memory over time.