Why do we need the preposition 'in' or 'on'? Can't we simply say "He hit my head."?

  • This is a seemingly very simple question, but I couldn't come up with even a quick comment, let alone the framework for a properly detailed answer. Even claiming that he hit me on the head is a short way of saying he hit me on the top of my head is unsatisfactory when you could also just say he hit the top of my head. It might be as simplistic as saying almost everything can be expressed in different words, and that's just how language evolves, but I keep thinking there's a more direct answer than that. I just can't think of it. Apr 30, 2020 at 2:52
  • I'm curious if this boils down to Why do we have multiple ways of expressing the same thing? or if it really is specific to this one type of phrase—or prepositions in general. The short answer is we don't need the preposition in this example. But it also seems to me (in a way I can't express) that it's more than merely superfluous. Apr 30, 2020 at 2:55
  • You can use all three. "In" and "on" have slightly different connotations, but too subtle to define outside of a specific context.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 30, 2020 at 2:59
  • Does it sound natural to just say 'He hit my head' without the preposition in/on? Among the three, which sentence would you use?
    – mizumiki17
    Apr 30, 2020 at 3:02
  • 2
    @mizumiki17 Both of those baseball bat sentences are equally likely and meaningful. Apr 30, 2020 at 3:17


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