I'm not a native English speaker, so I wanted to ask something. How would you say that 'As i was zapping through the channels, and this song came on'. Is this a correct sentence? Basically what I want to know is the phrasal verb for the song, as in the song was on air ? Sorry I know its not a correct sentence. Help me please.

  • 2
    The sentence is fine, though because you started with "as", you don't need the "and" after the comma. You can delete it. The construction "The song came on [the TV]" is perfectly fine and idiomatic.
    – Dan Bron
    Dec 11, 2014 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


There are many different words that could be used to describe this situation. Saying that a song "came on" is a common, casual usage and would be acceptable in speech or creative writing, though I would avoid using it for anything formal. The sentence could also read:

As I was zapping through the channels, a song came on.

Other phrases one could use:

  • a song began
  • a song started playing
  • a song was playing
  • I heard a song
  • there was a/this song
  • a song could be heard
  • musical notes came out of the tv-box and graced my ears with aural pleasure!

(That last one's a joke!)

  • However, none of your suggestions indicates inchoative aspect; 'came on' does. Dec 11, 2014 at 15:33
  • That's a good point. I did mention that "came on" was correct, but I think I will add more inchoative verbs.
    – Atlantic
    Dec 12, 2014 at 0:17
  • In order for the song to "come on", it has to have not started to play when the person flipped to that channel. Otherwise, it "was on" or "was playing". So "came on" might be grammatically correct but not necessarily accurate. Feb 10, 2015 at 8:46

You might also say

I was zapping through the channels when this song came on.

(The "and" would imply you zapping through the channels at the same time to the song coming on, "when" implies it happened while you were zapping and made you stop zapping.)

The "as", or the "and", binds the dependent clause to the independent clause. E.g.:

As I was zapping through the channels a song came on.

(A song came on as I was zapping through the channels.)

I was zapping through the channels when this song came on.

Hope this helps.

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