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In Year vs. On Year

I get this question many times from my students – which is the correct preposition to use before ‘year’ – in or on? Well, the right answer is both are correct when used in their appropriate context. We often talk about date and year in terms of months, years, weekdays etc. In this article, we will explore the rules used to determine which one (in/on) to use in various situations.

1:42 min read
  Ramya Shankar  —  Grammar Tips
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in (the/this) <year>

We use the preposition ‘in’ to indicate something that’s inside. In the context of time, ‘in’ is used for long durations of time. For example, a month, week or year. Usually, we specify the year when we use ‘in’. Here are some examples:

Notice that, other than the usage with ‘year’, we have given some example usages with day, week and month too. It is more appropriate to use ‘in’ with all of the above if the exact date is unknown.

on (the/this) <year>

We use ‘on’ in the context of time when we know the exact date or day. Some examples are:

  • I went to their house on Thursday.
  • We are going for a movie on the 13th.
  • Can you update me on this year’s achievements? (In this sentence, we are using ‘on’ with ‘year’ because the preposition ‘on’ here works on the word ‘achievements’ and not ‘year’.)
  • We last visited her last on June 12, 1986.
  • Last year, on this day, we were in Hawaii.

So, as a general rule, we can use ‘on’ when we know the exact date, whereas we use ‘in’ to mention a time duration.

Do you know which one is correct in this sentence:

My poem recitation is listed in/on this week’s programme list.

In the above sentence, we can use both on and in, as the word is used in the context of inclusion in the list.

We hope that through this article, you have learnt where to use ‘in’ and ‘on’ with year and in general with time. Let us know through comments, if you have any doubts or questions!

In Year vs. On Year

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