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The treatment didn’t work, because it was being used in/on a disease that wasn’t a disease.

A native English speaker told me on was the correct choice.

But Google Books returns 0 results for used on a disease and 6 for used in a disease. So I'm confused. What's the correct usage and why?

  • "On" would be understood, "against" would be more natural (in the specific case of your sentence), "for" would be better in other circumstances. – JHCL Oct 22 '15 at 9:25
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I suggest you say: "treatment for a disease".

Ngram: for a disease vs in/on a disease.

  • The treatment didn't work, because it was (being used) for a disease that was not a disease.
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I would say "on a disease", but I would rather prefer: "used to treat" or "used for" or "used to cure" .

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