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The phrasal verb "sit on sth" means "to be a member of a group of people". Well, according to Longman, "to sit in / on sth" means "to be a member of a committee, parliament, or other official group", the same thing. I don't know why my phrasal verbs book "says" just "sit on sth" and doesn't say the "in" too. Perhaps Parliament can only be used with "in" with this meaning, I don't know. When I found the meaning of "sit on sth" for the first time, I realised that I could say "To sit on a Parliament" and not "To sit in a Parliament". Is my phrasal vebs book incomplete? Can "sit on a Parliament" be correct? I hope you understand my question.

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Please do not invoke the Sith Lords in our company. They are a terrible bother. – tchrist Mar 13 '13 at 3:37
Grammar is no help here. Usage suggests (strongly supports) in, not on. Go ahead and use either in a generic sense; only in with reference to specific house. – Kris Mar 13 '13 at 6:18

Neither of “sit in a Parliament” and “sit on a Parliament” are correct. Both are wrong. (See added note.) The proper phrase is “sit in Parliament”. Eg, see ngrams for sit in a Parliament,sit on a Parliament,sit in Parliament.

(Added note: More precisely, both are usually inappropriate as a way of saying that someone is a Member of Parliament. They are not grammar mistakes. While some examples of use of “sit in a Parliament” and “sit on a Parliament” may be found – as noted in FumbleFingers' answer – neither phrase is a customary English-language way to say that a person is a Member of Parliament.)

Phrase “sit on a jury” is common. In common parlance it means to participate as a member of a jury, but – to digress – in Tenniel's illustration for Alice in Wonderland, Alice appeared to sit on a jury without being a member of it:

Tenniel in BW and colorized

(Actually, it was merely that “she jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box with the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below”, rather than sitting on the jury.)

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Sit on a Parliament is funnier, though. – MετάEd Mar 13 '13 at 2:24
Shades (or perhaps I should say 'hues') of Ted Turner. – StoneyB Mar 13 '13 at 2:42
-1 for "Both are wrong." cf FumbleFingers. – Kris Mar 13 '13 at 6:17
@Kris, I added a note. – jwpat7 Mar 13 '13 at 8:58
Nice picture. What's it about, though? And no link, no credits, no caption... :) – Kris Mar 13 '13 at 12:27

Those Anglophones who have a Parliament (mine being the mother of all, loosely speaking) don't usually refer to it using an article. Their elected representatives just sit in Parliament, as jwpat says.

But on those rare occasions when we're talking about a parliament (not usually capitalised), the most common form is sit in a parliament (that's an old one - here are many more recent usages).

Not that this means sit on a parliament is "incorrect" in any meaningful sense. There are no grammatical rules involved. It's just established custom and practice.

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I hadn’t realized you were Icelandic. – tchrist Mar 13 '13 at 3:39
I think it's fine that someone sat on the Parliament, just as Rand Paul sat on the US Senate for 13 hours the other day. By fine, I meant grammatically, rather than politically. – Blessed Geek Mar 13 '13 at 7:13
Nope, "sitting on the Parliament" just sounds wrong. In Canada at least we have "the Senate" and just plain "Parliament." The two words "the Parliament" would be followed by another word - in our case, invariably "buildings." – James McLeod Mar 13 '13 at 10:55
@James: As I said, in is the normal form - with or without an article. But I can see no feasible grammatical distinction between parliament and, say, council, committee, meeting, etc. So far as I'm concerned, that means using on is just not what we usually do - it's not "incorrect" grammatically speaking. – FumbleFingers Mar 13 '13 at 13:34

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