I really don't know the detail meaning between 'in the bed' and 'in bed'

I think that generally 'countable noun' has 'article' like 'a/an' or 'the'

But I can find the sentence like 'I usually read in bed'

What is the difference between 'in the bed' and 'in bed'?


In bed refers to customary activities undertaken while someone is (usually) on the way to sleep.

In the bed is normally less likely to denote customary activity associated with sleeping and more likely to denote other activities:

I found cracker crumbs in the bed

This would describe something that might have taken place while gathering bed linen for the laundry. It also might have been someone else's bed, not your own.

I found cracker crumbs in bed

This would probably mean they bothered you while you were trying to sleep.

  • 1
    +1 But would add a few other bed-related activities for in bed, including recuperating from an illness and engaging in romantic activities. The doctor wants you in bed, and * My wife couldn't wait to get me in bed (assuming she was not hoping I would merely fall asleep).
    – bib
    Jul 14 '15 at 12:52

If you say that you "read in the bed," you're referring to a specific bed in which you read. If you say that you "read in bed," you're making a general statement that you read in whatever bed in which you find yourself.

  • then, when can I use 'in bed' instead of 'in the bed'?
    – Young
    Jul 14 '15 at 10:04
  • 1
    If you're speaking generally about where you read at night, use "in bed." If you only read in one particular bed, use "in the bed."
    – deadrat
    Jul 14 '15 at 10:07

In bed is when you are sick but on bed is when you are resting. Eg Kofi is in bed for two weeks meaning Kofi is sick for two weeks


When we say "the bed" we are talking about a piece of furniture like any piece in the house.

For example:

I was looking for my cat under the bed.

  • What about 'in bed'?
    – Mitch
    Jan 2 '19 at 14:43

In bed is when you are doing either read, sleeping, making love or others. On bed is when you are sick. "The doctor placed him ON Bed rest. He is ON sick Bed.

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