1

Do you say:

The first step on becoming a permanent employee ...

or

The first step to becoming a permanent employee ...

closed as off-topic by tchrist, FumbleFingers, p.s.w.g, Kris, MetaEd Aug 3 '13 at 16:59

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  • 11
    They both are correct, and they both mean something. But they don't mean the same thing. The first step on becoming X is the first thing you do after you become X. The first step to becoming X is the first thing you do in order to become X (i.e, before, not afterwards). – John Lawler Aug 2 '13 at 18:58
  • On seems wrong (unless you mean "the first thing you do after"). To is acceptable, and so is in. – n.m. Aug 2 '13 at 19:00
  • @JeffSahol Not necessarily! It depends what he is trying to say - see JohnLawler's answer. – TrevorD Aug 2 '13 at 19:06
  • @John, "on becoming" seems to require a preceding verb in my head (not sure why): "The first step to take on becoming…" is fine for me, but "The first step on becoming…" jars. Is that just me? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 2 '13 at 19:07
  • 1
    @JanusBahsJacquet It's just you! What's wrong with "The first step on becoming a permanent employee is to find out where the tea room is."? – TrevorD Aug 2 '13 at 19:24
2

They mean different things.

The first step on becoming an employee

This is the first step AFTER you have become an employee.

The first step to becoming an employee

This is the first thing you have to do TO GET yourself to the point of being an employee.

The first step to becoming married is to find a nice girl. The first step on becoming married it to give her a big kiss at the front of a church full of friends and family.

(The above applies to heterosexual males of a religious persuasion, modify as you see fit...)

  • You are right. However, on ELU, one is expected to know that much already. – Kris Aug 3 '13 at 7:34

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