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I just used "prevail on" in a sentence. The whole sentence was: "If we can prevail on them to provide some donuts, the meeting may be more attractive." Should I have said "upon"?

I understand there is another question here which marks "upon" as just being more formal: Use of "upon" or "on" in phrase

So let's keep the scope of this question just on frequency/appropriateness in conjunction with "prevail".

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Both on and upon are commonly used:

prevail on/upon sb

(phrasal verb with prevail UK ​- formal)

to persuade someone to do something that they do not want to do:

  • He was eventually prevailed upon to accept the appointment.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

See also Google Books: prevail/ed on/upon

  • Thanks! That Google Books tool provides amazing hard data on usage, I've never seen that. In the end, the language is what it is, and the tool provides the empirical evidence. – Lars Ericson Sep 14 '18 at 22:29
  • Also based on Google it looks like "prevail on", my initial tendency, corresponds to current usage: books.google.com/ngrams/… – Lars Ericson Sep 14 '18 at 23:29

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