Is the use of upon correct in the following sentence?

There is a book upon the desk.

Also, is there any difference between on and upon in the following?

He stood on/upon the rock.

I'd appreciate your help.

  • Upon is a more formal, elegant way of saying on, that is regrettably slightly old-fashioned. It is preserved in many English place names such as Stratford-upon-Avon, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Kingston-upon-Thames etc. It is always helpful if you are writing a song or a poem, and you need an extra syllable to make a particular line scan e.g. Upon the roof by The Drifters 1962. Though in that case it is written as two words - Up on the roof. – WS2 Mar 21 '16 at 14:21

Though "on" and "upon" share about 92.3% the same meaning, the use of "upon" carries with it a slight tinge of depndency that "on" may lack. I can stand on the corner, but seriously doubt I will stand UPON the corner. However, "I stand UPON my principles", bears a little more punch than "standing ON principles."

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