In general, is it better to say get an idea on or get an idea of something?

Here are some examples:

In order to get an idea on how to build this house...

In order to get an idea of how to build this house...

In my opinion, the first example sounds better. Which one is grammatically correct?

4 Answers 4


In English, one has an idea of... (as well as other prepositions)

In order to get an idea of how to build this house, I spoke to several architects.

We may think on a matter.

The more I thought on the matter, the more convinced I became that I had been wrong all along.

  • The Google search for "to get an idea on" gives 6'030'000 results. Are they all wrong or you can use it depending on the context?
    – tyrana4
    Dec 18, 2013 at 1:36
  • 2
    @aeqr You can't treat Google's result estimates as evidence of standard English usage. COCA has 268 results for get an idea of, but only 1 result for get an idea on, and I think this is probably a better indication of standard English usage.
    – user28567
    Dec 18, 2013 at 5:14

Personally, I would say that I get ideas about things, not on or of things.


I had a good idea about how to answer this question, but I wrote this instead.


...get an idea on how to build...

...get an idea of building...

Use of before a verb + -ing.

  • 1
    That is how I would say it as well, but can you provide a source for this rule?
    – tyrana4
    Dec 18, 2013 at 3:27
  • About would generally be the best preposition to use here. Jun 15, 2020 at 10:14


In order to get an idea for building this house...

  • 1
    Why do you suggest this alternative?
    – Hugo
    Dec 18, 2013 at 8:52
  • I think it is more natural than any of the above answers.
    – abhijeet
    Dec 18, 2013 at 15:00

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