I had a discussion with my friends few days back regarding prepositions:
On and In for this picture.

cat napping in/on a small toy bed

I argued saying

My cat is on bed.

but my friend corrected me saying, it is

My cat is in bed.

I am confused, which one is correct?!

  • Welcome to EL&U. It is not clear what you are asking— what is the scenario you are trying to describe? On the bed, in the bed, and in bed are all valid, but have different meanings. Our sister site for English Language Learners may also be of interest.
    – choster
    Apr 6, 2017 at 0:35
  • Of course, one could always say "My cat is abed."
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 6, 2017 at 11:33

2 Answers 2


To say: My cat is on my bed

means that the cat is on top of the bed and not under the bed-clothes.

To say: My cat is in my bed

indicates that the cat is under the bed-clothes.

This holds true for other creatures.

However, when it comes to people, we say that someone is in bed, indicating beneath sheets/blankets - as opposed to in the bed, unless we are talking about a specific bed.

  • 1
    But a human can also be laying ON the bed. This tends to imply being atop the bedclothes, but could go either way.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 6, 2017 at 0:14
  • @Hot Licks As it is now 01.15 in my part of the world, I am about to decide the issue. Apr 6, 2017 at 0:16
  • @HotLicks - Is this human going to lay an egg on the bed? Lying, please! Apr 6, 2017 at 3:10
  • @aparente001 Or getting laid.
    – choster
    Apr 6, 2017 at 4:19
  • @aparente001 - I was not lying!!
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 6, 2017 at 11:32

Linda is already in bed.

This means she has taken off her clothes, brushed her teeth, and gotten under the sheets.

"Where is Linda?"
"She's on the bed."

This means that if you look at the bed, you'll see Linda lying or sitting or jumping up and down on top of the bed.

"Put Linda to bed."

This means undress her, give her a bath, brush her teeth for her, and stick her under the sheets.

Get those kids back into bed.

They were already in bed, but now, suddenly, they're all over the house, yelling and screaming and stuffing their faces with ice cream.

Note that anything that pertains to a person or object that is not covered by a sheet requires a definite article.

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