The preposition “to” is widely used in the phrase “be confined to”. My question is, can I use “in” or “on” in the following sentences?

  1. Someone is confined in the case.
  2. Someone is confined on the bus.

Are the two sentences correct?


The two sentences are correct insofar as they are grammatical and might naturally be used in some situations. However, situations that call for the first of the sentences seem somewhat improbable, so it might or might not actually apply to whatever context you have in mind. That is, “Someone is confined in the case” suggests that a person is being held inside a large case (that is, inside a large packing box). If case were intended to apply to an investigation or a legal process, one would instead say (eg) “A person of interest is being held in the investigation”. If that's what you meant by the first sentence, then your phrasing is wrong, awkward, misleading.

The second sentence, “Someone is confined on the bus”, appears to mean that a person is in confinement (ie, being restrained or being in accouchement) aboard a bus. If that's what you mean, then fine.

  • Thank you for your timely help.Your answer is detailed and easy to understand. – user57916 Dec 15 '13 at 21:48

Confined means to restrict or to contain within something or some place. I don't think you can use confined on or confined in because it does not seem logical to use it that way! You can use confined to or confined within! Again, that is what I believe, even I would like to know if it can be used the way you mentioned.

  • You can most certainly be confined in a cell. If somebody was confined on the bus, I would assume that they were not only on the bus, but also further confined; otherwise they would be confined in the bus or confined to the bus. – Peter Shor Dec 15 '13 at 14:46
  • Thank you,Peter. I think your commment is what I truly want. Though I don't know how I can choose your anwser as the best one, it is really instructive. – user57916 Dec 15 '13 at 21:46

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