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Which usage is correct in terms of booking a room/course/session?

"booked on a room/course/session"

"booked in a room/course/session"

"booked for a room/course/session"

Googling it, I usually see all three versions for crime-related headlines:

Booked On Assault Charge

Man booked in car crash that killed wife, son

Booked For Alleged Drag Racing

I am wondering if this is a regional choice, like "standing in line" vs. "standing on line."

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I suspect this is regional, but I think it also depends on the subject of the sentence. For example, I would say: "The room is booked for the course" but "the course is booked in the room". Saying "I'm booked on the course" sounds British to my ear, whereas "I'm booked in the course" sounds American. "I'm booked for the course" to me implies that I can't take the course because I have a conflicting booking. –  Azula R. Jun 13 '13 at 14:45
    
You just don't need a preposition there. –  Kris Jun 14 '13 at 5:53

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

[MAJOR EDIT: I think my original response was too lengthy, so this is more concise]

The verb "book" takes a direct object, with no preposition. The prepositions you noted are used as prepositions are regularly used, to indicate a relationship, and are not tied to the verb "book."

For the examples you give, it's hard to tell which usage is correct without further context.

Room: You might book a room for some purpose (no preposition before room). You also might book some activity in a room. Note the "in" shows where the activity is occurring and is not directly related to the "booking." The other prepositions you mentioned are possible, but less common, simply because the scenarios in which you would use them are less common. For example, you might book a star-gazing class on a room or you might book a slide projector for (use in) a room.

Course / Session: You might book a course or session for someone (no preposition before course or session). You might also book someone for a course or a session. As before, other prepositions might be valid, but may be generally uncommon contexts.

Crimes: For crimes, you will typically book a person for a criminal activity on a criminal charge. In the examples you gave, the person charged was often implicit (and not mentioned), except in the case of "Man booked in car accident." Also, in that case, note that the "in" is simply used as a regular preposition, telling you about the man (and not the booking). The man would have been booked for something like manslaughter or, alternately, would have been booked on manslaughter charges.

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"Booked in a room'" makes sense. Thanks for the explanation for crimes, that one had more nuances to it that I didn't quite get. For more context, I'm trying to say something along the lines of "you are now booked on the following course," but it may be used for session too, and possibly room for location. (edit: I hit enter before finishing my response) –  sarah Jun 13 '13 at 18:38
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@sarah: If it's on the context of software-generated text, the safest option would be to hard-code you are booked for, since it would be fine for any of the things you seem to be concerned with. You probably wouldn't book on a room or in a course, for example, so they're not really "generic" in this context. –  FumbleFingers Jun 13 '13 at 18:46
    
Booked 'in' a course feels perfectly cromulent to me. But then, I'm an 'on line' standing New Yorker, so my use of prepositions is inherently suspect to the rest of the world. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Jun 13 '13 at 18:51

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