Prepositions ON and ONTO



Hello beautiful people! Did you know that there are 150 prepositions in English? Whoa, crazy…I know! In today’s episode we are going to have fun with only TWO prepositions: On and Onto. Hope you enjoy today’s show :)



Hello beautiful people, you are listening to the English Made Simple show, this is episode number 96, numero noventa y seis.

Bienvenidos, my name is Milena from and Welcome to another episode of the English Made Simple show, where we try to decipher this crazy world of English language.

Oh my goodness, and once we learn English we can then start learning Dutch because that’s where the English language originated from. It stemmed from Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands.
Dutch is a name given to people who live in the Netherlands or Holland – Olanda in Spanish– this country has 2 names by the way! – Dutch is the word describing the people of the Netherlands as well as the language.

If someone is born in the Netherlands, they are called Dutch and they speak Dutch.

And now this is way off topic for today, let’s get back on! Let’s get on with today’s episode. Meaning let’s carry on, let’s continue.

Let me start off with a question: Did you know there are 150 prepositions in English language?
Yeah… I know, it’s true!

But today’s topic will be about 2 important Prepositions ON and ONTO. We are going to cover only two in today’s episode. Alrighty?

It was brought to my attention by a couple of very special listeners who have recently shared their stories with me. I want to send a greeting to José Antonio from Zaragoza in Spain, Hola José Antonio como estas? I hope the English Made Simple Podcast is helping you with improving your listening skills. Keep listening buddy!

And also, Kia Ora to Jordi from Chile, como ehtai? Jordi has just recently moved to New Zealand and he is struggling to understand kiwi accent…yup, I’ve been there. It was hard for us as well as a family I remember, when we moved to NZ, but then you just get used to it and then it becomes like second nature… It becomes something normal. So, hang in there bro, you will get there!

So Jordi had an interesting question about prepositions. A couple of other listeners as well were also confused about when to use prepositions ON and IN because in Spanish you mostly need to use one word EN.

First of all let me just get Weon Inteligente to enlighten us before we proceed with the show.
Weon, can you please tell us what is a preposition? Define preposition for us please.

According to Weon Inteligente, preposition is a word that connects a noun, pronoun andy any other phrase to some other part of the sentence.

Remember this guys, prepositions in general are used to show direction, location or time. They are very helpful when constructing sentences in English.

It sounds simple right but strangely enough there is no definite rule or a magic formula for choosing a preposition.

My advice to you amigos, is to pay a special attention – pongán atención o fijénse bien -when reading in English or listening to something in English, see if you can recognize some phrases that use prepositions.

Pay special attention to those phrases, ok?

For example, I am going to see my friend Ana for coffee, so I send a message to Ana: Hi Ana, I will see you in an hour.

In an hour or In a few minutes – indicate unspecified time during a day, month or year.

This is a common phrase that uses preposition IN, you can learn it and remember it.

But you know what, I will explain more about the preposition IN and INTO as well in my next episode.

I don’t want to go on and on about this particular preposition because today we are going to learn about one special preposition, about the preposition ON.

Ha! That was a clever introduction to today’s episode Milena.

To go on and on about something or just to go on about something – means to talk about something endlessly. To talk about someone or something without an end in sight, without being able to finish the discussion.

To go and on about something…

Usually when couples fight, ok let me give you a typical scenario – an example, imagine this when a man and a woman who are in a romantic relationship have an argument, they are fighting, they are arguing non-stop. Women in general are known to talk a lot – it’s a fact, women talk more than men – so when women fight they just go on and on about a specific thing that they are not happy about in the relationship. You know I am just using this as an example… And the guys – what do guys do, they just listen. Right! Good. That’s how it should be.

Cool? Let’s carry on now.

When do we use preposition ON? Preposition On is a preposition of Time, Place, Surface and Device – Device, that’s a new word! In Spanish equipo electronico o dispositivo electronico.

Device is a generic word that describes a phone, TV, a computer and so on.

Most of the time we use the preposition ON to describe when something is touching a surface or is being supported by the top surface.

For example: The phone is on the table. The phone is touching the surface, it’s touching the top of the table.

A simple example. A very simple example. What I would suggest for you guys, is to remember simple examples like this one whenever you feel stuck or whenever you are not sure of using the propositions correctly. You can just remember these simple examples. They will help you.

So…. My phone is on the table.

We cannot say that the phone is IN the table – it would imply the phone is somewhere INSIDE the TABLE, it would just know… bizarre to use IN, in this case.

Ok…The next example when we should be using the preposition ON is…with TIME.

We use the preposition ON, for days of the week or specific dates in the month.

For example: I was born on the 21st of August 1981. When were you born? When is your birthday?

Justin Bieber was born on 1st March 1994. He is still a baby…

James Hetfield from Metallica was born on 3rd of August 1963. Oh interesting, he is a Leo too, just like me.

So we use ON when we want to specify a certain date – en este caso una fecha especifica. It could be a birthday, or an event, you know that’s what I mean. Ok? Cool bananas!

Another example is, today’s podcast will be released on Monday at 9pm Australian time. We use ON to specify a day of the week if something happens on a weekday for example, like on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and so on.

Ouch, I keep saying And So On. This is a phrase and it means etcetera. You see, you can now use this phrase it will make you sound super-duper fluent. You will notice that I use this phrase in almost all of my episodes. “And so on”.

Right, let’s continue.

The preposition On is also used to indicate a device – as we said earlier in Spanish this is equipo electronico o dispositivo electronico.

Let me give you a simple example so that it is easier for you to remember.

For example, guys: I am on the phone. You are on the phone.
Dr Jones is on the phone right now. Dr Jones is talking with someone over the phone. He is on the phone.

What’s another device we like to be on a lot?
a-ha! Computer.

Everyone is on the computer these days.

I am on the computer updating my Facebook profile. Are you on Facebook?

Another example we could use here, is TV – television or tele for short. TV or tele is more common to say though.

What’s on tele tonight? What’s on TV tonight? Que hay en la tele? What’s on tele tonight?

My favourite telenovela Grand Hotel is on TV right now.

My favourite move will be on TV on Monday night, at 8pm. Con Air with Nicholas Cage. Haha No it’s not my favourite movie, but I did see it recently after so many years and I thought watching it in this day and age is just extremely hilarious. Con Air check it out if you are a fan of Nicholas Cage.

But anyway, lastly, we use preposition ON to express that something is touching parts of our bodies.

For example:

I wear a ring on my finger. Uso un anillo en mi dedo.

We use the verb wear in this case to indicate you are wearing accessories like bracelets, pulseras or brazaletes, or a watch, un reloj and you can also wear clothes – usar o vestir qualquier tipo de ropa.

We use the verb wear.

In this case we use the verb wear. To wear.

Another example: When people greet each other in Chile, normally they kiss once on the cheek – mejilla is cheek. We spell it as C H E E K. That’s a new word for you amigos!

Awesome amigos, you are doing great. If you are listening to this part of the show now, it means you’ve done really well. If you need to listen to this episode again to help you remember everything about preposition On, please by all means, listen to it again.

And now we are moving on to the next part of the show.

Preposition ONTO, it’s to do with direction and movement.

Let me give you an example:

The cat jumped onto the chair.

Whereas, if you say: the cat laid on the chair all day has a completely different meaning. If you say the cat was on the chair all day – it does have a completely different meaning.

The cat jumped onto the chair.

When I use the word ONTO I always imagine some kind of (a) movement. As you know, the preposition TO is a preposition of movement, when combined with ON it becomes ONTO.

Another example:

I stepped down from the bus and onto the road. I exited the bus and went onto the road. Cool!

So here we are amigos! I hope that after today you will have more clarity of when to use prepositions ON and ONTO. I shared some simple examples with you so that it would be easier for you to remember and associate these two prepositions.

Was it useful to you? Let me know: Jump onto the Facebook and comment in the Facebook group, English Made Simple.

If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode please share it with your friends, the more the merrier.

Next week we are going to talk about prepositions In, Into and maybe At.

Let’s see how we go! Who knows! In the coming Short and Sweet episode, we’ll cover some common phrases and linking phrases that use prepositions ON and ONTO. Stick around, it will be useful and practical.

You’ve been jamming with Milena V from English Made Simple, it’s time for me to sit back and have a glass of red wine. You’ve been an awesome audience as always.
Catch ya next time, hasta la proxima!

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