Well, there are several ways that this post can go. Here’s a hint: it’s about prepositions.

And since I’ll be talking about prepositions, I might as well give a montage of illegal Winners Circle clues, since prepositions are usually buzzed as “too descriptive.”

But now I cut to the chase.

A few days ago, Dina gave me a text message just before her plane departed for a week’s vacation to New York. She sent two messages in quick succession:

“In the plane [plane emoji which I won’t be able to get to render in WordPress]”


Generally, we think of the latter phrase (i.e. “on the plane”) to be the accepted phrase.

Interestingly, however, I think that the former form is more correct!

Though I’ve almost always heard the construction “on the bus/train/plane”, or the construction “in the car,” it is  rare to hear those prepositions reversed (i.e. “in the plane/bus/train” or “on the car.”

Colloquially, there are places where “on” and “in” are somewhat interchangeable. But formally, I don’t think so.

If you are “on” a plane, bus, or train, that probably means “on top of” instead of “in.”

Reminds me of in a Hebrew class, when I said “הייתי על הרכבת” (I was on the train), and was corrected to “הייתי ברכבת” (I was in the train). The teacher then explained, in English, the distinction that I just made.

I wonder, however, if the idiomatic colloquialism of “on the plane” is technically correct, or if it’s a common misusage. Thoughts?


Semester Kickoff: 15 days

Green Bay/St. Norbert: 73 days

Minneapolis: 80 days

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