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I'm wondering whether the phrase 'in books, TV, or films' is correct. It seems to realize the 'in A, B, and C' structure; however, the preposition 'in' does not go with 'TV'. We cannot say 'in TV'.

Do we have to say 'in books, on TV, or in films' instead?

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Yes, it is correct. However, if on TV sounds better, you can say 'in books or films, or on TV' instead.

The phrase 'in books, TV, or films' is fine to use. Consider using the unabbreviated word television. Also, see the question, "Is "In movie and TV" correct?" which shows that you can say "in television" or (in TV.)

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    To me this seems wrong, I have never heard anyone talk about what's in TV, always on. Also, the use of TV over television is completely normal. Edit: see this Ngrams search – BladorthinTheGrey Jul 18 '16 at 16:03
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    @BladorthinTheGrey What is on TV is more of the programs and channels. What is in television is more like the content as a whole (its reoccurring themes, symbolism and morals.) See on TV, in TV Ngrams – 54 69 6D Jul 18 '16 at 16:12
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    I'd disagree, based solely on personal experience - so I shan't be too harsh - I have never heard what is in TV. However this may be an AmE/BrE split. Also it seems that the on usage as you put it is what the OP wants. – BladorthinTheGrey Jul 18 '16 at 16:15
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    @BladorthinTheGrey That's true. It's like saying "on yesterday" or just "yesterday." – 54 69 6D Jul 18 '16 at 16:17
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    You wouldn't say "in TV", but in this context, where TV is an item in a list, I think it's acceptable. It could also be interpreted as "in the domain of books, TV, and films", in which case it's not incorrect at all. – Max Williams Jul 18 '16 at 16:30

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