Which of the following sentences makes sense?

  1. We took the new kayak out on the lake as it was a nice day.
  2. We took the new kayak out in the lake as it was a nice day.
  • I used to say "We took the new kayak out to the lake as it was a nice day" - sounds fine to me, that one. – Omega Feb 11 '13 at 21:07
  • I think it's General Reference that you swim in the lake, and sail on it. The standard meanings of in and on, reflecting the different physical relationships of swimmers and sailors to water, surely make the choice of preposition obvious. – FumbleFingers Feb 11 '13 at 22:33

If it was a good new kayak I'd say "on the lake" is what I would write.

If the kayak was no good and sank right away, you took it out in the lake.

  • While funny, I'm pretty sure you must know that "in the lake" is not appropriate for the example unless it was a kayak/submarine! Don't forget that our primary goal is to answer questions to the best of our ability. :-) – Kristina Lopez Feb 11 '13 at 22:18

Definitely on the lake.

If you're in the lake, you're probably swimming, sinking or otherwise submerged. Think of it like floating on top of since the emphasis of boating is staying afloat and moving more or less in 2 dimensions, whereas swimming, fishing and playing tend to involve a little more freedom with respect to movement throughout the depth of the water.

Also, I'd go with since instead of as and reorder the sentence, "Since it was nice out today, we took the new kayak out on the lake." It's not wrong per se, but as works better with comparisons, substitutions or as a way of introducing a fact. Using as on its own to talk about the setting or a reason has a tendency to over-inflate the register or tone of formality. As for the reordering of the sentence, it just kinda rolls of the tongue better unless you wanna add a pause in the middle and refer back to some prior point in a conversation.

Other options might be:

We took the kayak out on the lake today, since it was so nice out.
Seeing as how it was so nice out today, we took the kayak out on the lake.

  • FWIW, "since" is sometimes criticized when used for non-temporal reference. (Those critics are, of course, wrong, but it's useful to know) – nohat Feb 11 '13 at 22:25
  • Yeah, that'd be kinda like avoiding a preposition at the end of a sentence, even though it's more concise to use phrasal verbs than relative clauses. The scenario strikes me as a rather informal situation though so elevating the register might mean fewer kayaking friends. – Adam Feb 13 '13 at 18:16

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