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Preposition usage: on, in, and at

I guess the difference is that when you say "I work on a project", it shows that your are the owner of the project, whereas "in a project" shows that you are the member of a project. Is my guess correct?

  • 1
    I'm a native AmE speaker, and I don't think I ever say I work in a project. I don't think you can make the distinction you made in the meanings. I work on lots of projects that I wouldn't say that I am the owner of.
    – JLG
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 22:57
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    I don't know if I've ever heard anyone say "I work in a project*. Is there a specific context where you've seen this usage? (I'm inexplicably reminded of "the projects", as in "government-sponsored low-income housing", so that "I work in a project" means that "I work in a highrise building that was constructed as low-income housing"; but of course using a singular "project" in that case would be... odd.)
    – Marthaª
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 22:58
  • I, like Martha, am reminded of government-sponsored housing by the phrase "work in a project". I used to live in what we called "the project" in Long Branch, NJ. It was for WWII vets (my father). Not a high-rise but single-story row houses very reminiscent of military barracks. I don't think the OP's guess is correct.
    – user21497
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 23:52
  • @JLG Googling "I work on a project" yields about 3 940 000 result, while googling "I work in a project" yields about 4 940 000 results. Do you have any idea of what that is? Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is a difference. At least not for project.

I work on a production line and I work in a production line certainly have little or no difference.

People get on planes and in cars and the oddness of that allowed George Carlin to make it part of his act.

Saying that you work on a project does not clearly state that you are the owner of the project, but saying you word in a project certainly implies that you did not create the project.

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