English Prepositions IN ON English Expressions

English Prepositions: Expressions with IN and ON

Welcome back to my preposition series! If you’re a regular follower, you know that I posted about English Prepositions of Time last month, and promised that I’d continue these lessons with prepositions because they can be so confusing. As I’ve previously mentioned, there are a few ways to learn prepositions, for example, by type: prepositions with TIME, or by direction, movement, etc.. Today we’re learning fixed expressions, specifically with IN and ON. I choose the English Prepositions IN ON today because they are among the most confusing. However, after today’s video, examples, and practice exercises, I am confident you’ll be ready to start using these expressions and prepositions with no problem!

Before reading the full English lesson below, take a few minutes to watch my 5 minute English video to practice listening comprehension and hear the expressions in context with examples. As you know, this full English lesson includes some more examples and practice exercises at the end. Let’s begin…

Common Expressions with English Prepositions:

IN and ON

Now you will have the chance to read the expressions, their definitions, examples from the video and additional examples for better understanding. I have also included extra expressions for you to write down and learn today including a couple of examples for understanding. Practice reading these sentences out loud to start building confidence in your speaking. At the end, make sure to complete the practice exercises to check your progress and help yourself remember the information.


(to be) in a hurry/in a rush: to be running late, and you need to do something quickly

  • I woke up late, so I was in a rush this morning.
  • Because she was in a rush, Jan showed up to her interview sweating.

to be in charge: to be the leader, to have the authority, or to be in control

  • I was in charge of my team’s project.
  • Bruce wasn’t allowed to be in charge because of the problems last time.

in a row: to be lined up (arranged) in a line, in an organized order/straight line

  • I put all of my shoes in a row so I could see which ones I wanted to wear.
  • Cindy’s kitchen is very organized, she has everything in her cabinets lined up perfectly in a row.


in a bind: to be in a difficult situation; a tough problem

  • Mike is in a bind because his rent is due and he has no money.
  • Sarah was in a bind when she saw her car had been towed and she couldn’t get to her interview.

in the wrong: to be incorrect about something

  • When I discovered I was in the wrong about the argument, I apologized to my friend.
  • Joe said 2 + 2 = 5, but Ben knew he was definitely in the wrong!

(to be) all in: to be fully committed to doing something; to give 100% of your effort/attention

  • Isabella is the best employee because she is always all in on every project.
  • When Paulo asked if I wanted to travel the world, I told him that I was all in!


on purpose: with intention, deliberately; done because someone wanted to

antonym (the opposite): on accident: done without intention, by mistakes

  • I’m so sorry I bumped into you, it wasn’t on purpose. It was on accident.
  • Alex knew his brother hit him on purpose even though he said it was on accident.

on hand: available to use

  • I have plenty of water on hand, so you don’t need to bring some to the party.
  • Luckily there was a teacher on hand at the event to help the student with her question.
  • Max loved going to his dad’s office because there was always candy on hand.

on second thought:to re-think a decision, to think about or consider something again

  • I wanted to go to the party. But on second thought, I think I should study instead.
  • Tim really thought his mom would let him borrow the car until she said, “On second thought, go ask your dad.”



on every corner: very abundant (to be a lot of something) (*not often used literally, but in an exaggerated way)

  • San Diego has Mexican food restaurants on every corner!
  • Luckily I know I’ll find a gas station because there’s one on every corner.

on the tip of (one’s) tongue: when an idea/word cannot be remembered immediately, but the information is known and it’s almost said/remembered

  • When I saw that woman I couldn’t remember her name, but it was on the tip of my tongue!
  • John had to think for a moment about the name of the restaruant he went to last week. He knew he would remember soon because it was on the tip of his tongue.

on (one’s) own: to be alone, with no one else

  • Ron has lived on his own since he was 16 years old.
  • She doesn’t like to be on her own, so she’s always with her friends.


Practice Exercises

Practice makes perfect, so don’t stop now. You can practice by commenting below this blog post, writing them in your notebook and checking with your teacher, or reviewing with your English conversational partner. Current Skype students, you can upload the answers in our online classroom document for review in our next lesson. If you’re not a current student, do you want to learn online with me via Skype? Learn more about private classes by clicking here!


  1. Because of the storm coming, we had to make sure we had plenty of supplies ____________.
  2. Taylor’s always __________ because she has horrible time management skills.
  3. I couldn’t believe I forgot her name! It was ________________.
  4. Luckily Mary was able to call her best friend when she was _______, and her friend helped her immediately.
  5. Jake was really angry at Bob; however, he really didn’t mean to damage his car. He ran into it ___________.


  1. When was the last time you were in charge of something?
  2. What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done on accident?
  3. Do you like being on your own?
  4. If you could live on an island with 2 friends for 1 year, would you be all in?
  5. What is something that is on every corner in your city?

Don’t forget to start using these new expressions in your English conversations! Choose at least 2, and try and use them today!

If you liked this post, please take a minute and share with a friend or colleague, I really appreciate it!

Until next time,

Happy Studying! ♥

  1. on hand
  2. in a rush
  3. on the tip of my tongue
  4. in a bind
  5. on accident
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1 Comment

  1. Sam @ English For Study on September 17, 2016 at 12:59 am

    Hey Jennifer!

    Fantastic post! Some of these expressions are tricky even for native speakers to describe, so I think you’ve done a great job at making everything clear and easy to understand.

    I’d like to add (if any English learners read this comment), that my top three expressions here are:
    – on purpose (very useful!)
    – In a rush (also, very useful)
    – on one’s own (especially ‘on my own’)

    Thanks for sharing these expressions!

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