I would like to know whether 'I park my car 'on the porch' or 'in the porch' is correct?

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    I heartily recommend that you do neither. – tchrist Feb 2 '13 at 16:03
  • I guess that if there is not enough space under the porch, then this question is NARQ. – user19148 Feb 2 '13 at 16:14
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    A porch is usually a flat place so you would park -on- it. If it were an enclosed place you could park -in- it (because you normally park your car -in- the garage but -on- the driveway. – Mitch Feb 2 '13 at 16:49
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    I suspect that, at least for Americans, the architectural feature you wish to refer to is a carport, and, since it a carport (in contrast to a garage) is open, the preposition is on. – Andrew Lazarus Feb 2 '13 at 17:16
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    @Andrew: All good, except we don't park on the carport, we park in it, or under it. – J.R. Feb 3 '13 at 4:22

In the UK, it's neither on nor in the porch. This is a decent-sized porch:

Wooden porch from Roger Gladwell Source

Parking on that is plainly ridiculous; and it's too small to park a car in it.

Andrew Lazarus suggested a carport, and it could look like a porch:

Carport in front of garages [Andreas Hornig]

In British English, one parks under a carport; and if this structure were called a porch, it would still be under the porch. It's under because there is simply a supported roof, and no walls to be inside of.

What British English doesn't have is "porch" describing the sort of large covered terrace which fronts some American houses.

  • I suppose one might conceivably albeit somewhat metaphorically park oneself on the porch, if one were a weary pedestrian awaiting the owner’s return. I have heard it used colloquially that way. – tchrist Feb 2 '13 at 16:13
  • Hm, you know what? That is actually not a porch, because it is level with the patio. In might be stretched to be an entryway — maybe. For some reason, I feel like a porch needs to involve a different level, maybe a different flooring, and probably a step or two. Does that sound odd to you? – tchrist Feb 2 '13 at 16:22
  • It's a British porch. A difference in level is not required here. Although this one does actually have a different flooring. – Andrew Leach Feb 2 '13 at 16:24
  • Odd. Take a gander at these. Don’t those look more like porches to you than what you showed? Plus you can park bikes on them, although not cars one would hope. :) (Though it might stand to wonder whether in its infinite wisdom, Google Images may produce only British porches for you and American ones for me.) – tchrist Feb 2 '13 at 16:28
  • @tchrist: Yup, your link shows this picture in first place for me. It's bewitched, I tell you. – Tim Lymington Feb 2 '13 at 16:37

On the porch is correct. Unless there's a secret compartment/garage underneath your porch, on is the correct word. In would mean that the porch surrounds the car in some way.

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    Yes, but at least in the US, a porch is not where you'd park a car. A porch is the landing outside of a door into the house where people stand while waiting to go in. Some people often will have a small sitting area on their porch and maybe a porch swing. – Jim Feb 2 '13 at 15:48
  • @Jim: What you're saying here is usually correct, of course, although I'll mention that there's a house in our neighborhood with a built-in garage beneath the porch/patio. I haven't seen that too often, though. Still, even allowing for this architecture, I'd use under, not in or on. – J.R. Feb 2 '13 at 16:31
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    In my variety of American English, porches are for people to perch on, period. If it's not grass and it's large enough to park a car on, it's a driveway, a patio, or some other local term. – John Lawler Feb 2 '13 at 19:12

Actually, go ahead and forget the idea of parking a car on the porch, unless it is a toy car. You park your bike on the porch but your car in the garage.


Actually, in parts of the US, the carport is referred to as the Car porch. In that case, yes you do Park on the car porch. It actually makes sense. A porch for the car.

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