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Which is most grammatical?

  • It's still cached to your phone.
  • It's still cached in your phone.
  • It's still cached on your phone.

I find myself gravitating towards "to" but I'm not sure - I feel like "cached" implies some kind of attachment.

2 Answers 2

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To cache something means to store it away, so I think the most natural preposition is in. Cached on is also fairly common.

Cached to is very uncommon, but appears to becoming more popular in software contexts. I suspect this is because non-software caches usually require you to be close to them, but software caches are often remote so that the act of caching involves sending data to another server. Because your phone is not a remote server cached to is an unnatural choice.

You can see the relative uses of these prepositions with Google Ngrams.

A Google ngram chart showing significantly more usage of "cached in" over time versus "cached on". "cached to" is barely represented in the graph, but has increased slightly since the mid 1990s.

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  • That's my feeling, too, but is there evidence? Maybe some ngrams?
    – Raphael
    Jul 15, 2014 at 22:13
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    @curiousdannii "Cache" is used more generally than in computing, as you can see from the fact that "cached in" and "cached on" were more widely used in 1945 than at any time in the period 1950-1990. Terrorists cache their weapons in the forest to stop the police finding them, squirrels cache their nuts in the ground to store them over the winter. So the NGrams say very little. Jul 15, 2014 at 22:20
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    @DavidRicherby that's true. Or for all we know maybe the uses of on are all adjuncts like "cached on Tuesday"! Jul 15, 2014 at 22:26
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    @curiousdannii And "cached to stop the other squirrels stealing them". Jul 15, 2014 at 22:31
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    @curious I find stored to the database quite odd (I would always use in here, since store is the result of saving, i.e., what comes after the ‘movement’ into the database or onto the disk), but I think of cached to your phone as exactly equivalent to synchronised to your Dropbox. Note that little word still in the question, though. If something is still cached, that's a state, and I'd never use to. After you cache it to the phone, it's cached on the phone. Jul 15, 2014 at 22:43
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To cache is to store something away for future use (especially if in a hidden place). You could store things in a box or on a shelf but I can't think of any situation in which you'd store something to somewhere. One normally talks about storing things on a particular computer/disk/memory stick so I would use the same for cache.

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    Save to disk?
    – bib
    Jul 15, 2014 at 22:17
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    @bib What of it? Just because save uses to doesn't mean any other word does. Jul 15, 2014 at 22:18
  • @curiousdannii DR's answer argues that you don't store something to somewhere. When you save to disk, you are storing something to a disk. It doesn;t mean the other prepositions are wrong, just that to is not ruled out. Whether cache takes to is more a function of usage than pure logic.
    – bib
    Jul 15, 2014 at 22:42
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    @bib No, when you save to a disk, you're storing something on it. Jul 15, 2014 at 22:44
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    It's a question of language, not logic. you are actually storing something in the magnetic medium on the disk.
    – bib
    Jul 15, 2014 at 22:53

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