What is the correct collocation here? Do you walk across the crosswalk, through the crosswalk, or on the crosswalk? Or can you say cross the crosswalk?

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    One crosses the road in the crosswalk. – Jim Jan 5 '15 at 14:58
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    ... or crosses the road at the crosswalk. – Peter Shor Jan 5 '15 at 15:26
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    You can certainly cross the crosswalk. Personally, I would say, "I used the crosswalk." – EFrog Jan 5 '15 at 15:28

Google Ngrams shows that in is the most common term, followed by at, on, and then through. In my experience, they're used in different contexts.

If you want to distinguish using the crosswalk from crossing elsewhere, you use at. For instance, when I was a child, we were admonished:

Always cross the street at the light or a crosswalk.

If you want to refer to a location when some event occurs, you can use in:

The car didn't stop, even though I was in the crosswalk.

on is used when referring to other things being on the pavement of the crosswalk.

There are zebra stripes painted on the crosswalk.

through tends to be used when talking about cars or bicycles going over the crosswalk in the direction of street travel, not crossing the street.

The car went through the crosswalk even though there were pedestrians in it.


It depends on what you are emphasizing

  • across - just that you are trying to get to the other side of the street
  • through - gives the feeling of a tunnel, maybe if there was a lot of traffic
  • on - you made certain where to walk, perhaps for legal reasons
  • cross - perhaps your destination is close to the other side of the road?

The answer to your questions is an emphatic, "Yes."

Substitute the word "bridge" for crosswalk in your examples. "Through" is awkward, but the other words are all valid and, more importantly, each word paints a different world.

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What words best describe The Beatles in the famous picture, above? Use the word that forces your reader to imagine the world you are creating.

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