29

Which is the correct usage:

Something on a page

OR

Something in a page

By page, I mean a web page, not a physical book page.

  • 1
    This comes up a lot: here's one answer, and another one, and still another, all about preposition usage -- it's a metaphor issue, not a grammatical one. – John Lawler May 21 '14 at 18:08
  • It does depend on whether you mean the page you see or its HTML source code. It also depends on what the something is. Text and images are generally on pages. Holes and the like can be in. So if you put up an image of a hole you can say either. Context and examples are always welcome. – RegDwigнt May 21 '14 at 18:46
  • "Holes"? As in those made by bookworms? – Kumāra Bhikkhu Oct 19 '18 at 7:17
34

Either is (or even both are) correct, but the preposition changes the meaning.

John Lawler's answer here goes some way to explaining the difference: the choice of preposition distinguishes between the surface and the container.

If you are treating the web page as similar to a book page — a fairly transparent metaphor — then one would use on because you are referring to something printed/written on the surface of the page. It's unlikely that you are referring to something in the physical structure of the page.

It's on page 474 of this book.
It's on the front page of the website.

However, because web pages are usually built from structured code, it's quite easy to find something in the physical structure of the page. In this case, you're not concerned about what appears on the screen ( = the surface of the page), you're concerned with how the screen appears how it does. This could be applied to a book page, but it's less likely that something will happen within the actual paper.

There's malicious code in that page.
I found a spider squashed in the page of the book.

14

If you are talking about something that you are able to view on a page, you will use "ON". If you are talking about something in its code, you will use "IN".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.