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E.g., "On my spare time I'm working on an essay" or "In my spare time I'm working on an essay".

Which is correct? Both in/on are prepositions, but "in my spare time" sounds more idiomatic to me. A friend corrected me, and now I'm curious.

Which is correct (or are both)?.

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This is a general reference question (too basic). Suggest your friend compare "in my spare time" and "on my spare time" using the Google Ngram Viewer. – MετάEd Sep 10 '12 at 12:38
@MετάEd One would consider your comment to be too basic. Just a reference to a graph doesn't seem to be a useful tool to suggest an appropriate response to a question. All it shows, is just what other people prefer. And if that was what you were trying to convey, then an appropriate response would have just been a simple "It's a matter of preference" and then maybe a link to the Google Ngram Viewer to support such a statement. – Souta Sep 13 '12 at 14:56

I think the correct usage is "in my spare time" (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/in+spare+time).

The usage of "on" you're thinking of is probably "on my own time", which has a similar meaning to "in my spare time" (http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/on+own+time).

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Among the "evolved" uses of the preposition "in" includes one that has come to be synonymous with "during," hence the (awful) local news constructs that include sentences like "The victim was shot in the pre-race festivities."

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