onon1 /ɒn $ ɑːn, ɒːn/ ●●●S1W1 preposition1ON/ON TOP OFon a surfacea)touching a surface or being supported by a surfaceLeave your things on the table over there.People were sunbathing on the grass.The little girl was sitting on her father’s shoulders.b)used to say that someone or something moves so that they are then touching or supported by a surfacesnow falling on the mountainsidesHe threw himself on the bed.2supporting your body used to say what part of someone’s body is touching the ground or another surface and supporting their weightShe was on her feet in no time.He was on his hands and knees searching for something.Can you stand on your head?3part hit/touched used to say what part of someone or something is hit or touchedI wanted to punch him on the nose.Matt kissed her on the cheek.4written/shown used to say where something is written or shownThere’s a diagram on page 25.He wrote his phone number on a piece of paper.5CONNECTED WITHSUPPORT/HOLD UPattachedattached to or hanging from somethingShe hung her coat on a hook.Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times.
6place in a particular placeThe town is right on the border.Is there a water supply on the island?He grew up on a ranch in California.a store on Fifth Avenue7DIRECTIONposition in a particular position in relation to something elseYou’ll see the school on your left.They live on the opposite side of the town.8looking/pointing looking or pointing towards something or someoneHis eyes were on the stranger standing in the doorway.She trained her binoculars on the house.9TIME/AT A PARTICULAR TIMEday/date during a particular dayThey’ll be here on Tuesday.I was born on July 1st.We’ll see you on Christmas Eve.GrammarDon’t use on before ‘this’, ‘last’, or ‘next’ and a day of the week. You say: Term starts this Monday. It was my birthday last Friday.✗Don’t say: on this Monday | on last Friday10EFFECT/INFLUENCEaffecting/relating toaffecting or relating to someone or somethinga tax on cigaretteshis influence on young peopleThere will be new restrictions on the sale of weapons.What effect will these changes have on the tourist industry?
11aboutABOUT about a particular subjectDo you have any books on India?You can get information on local services by calling this number.an international conference on global warming► see thesaurus at about12orders/advice as a result of someone’s order, request, or adviceHe was killed on the King’s orders.I accepted the offer on the advice of my lawyer.13eat/drink used to talk about what someone usually eats or drinksThey live mainly on beans, lentils, and rice.Is your baby on solid food yet?14TTTRAVELtransporta)in or into a bus, train, plane etc opp offDid you manage to sleep on the plane?Tommy should be on the six o’clock train.She got on the first bus that came along.b)riding somethinga statue of the King on horsebackI’ll probably come on my bike.15DFmoneyreceiving money for a job or as a regularpaymentHe’s on quite a good salary now.She must be on at least £50,000 a year.the difficulties faced by families on low incomes
16fuel using a particular type of fuel or powerMost buses run on diesel.Does it work on mains electricity?17MDmedicine/drugs taking a particular drug or medicine regularly opp offAre you still on antibiotics?The doctor put her on Prozac.A lot of these kids are on heroin by the age of 12.18 →what’s somebody on?19using equipment using a machine or piece of equipmentHe’s been on the computer all afternoon.Is Rachel still on the phone?20musical instruments playing a musicalinstrumentHe played a short piece on the piano.The album features Rick Wakeman on keyboards.21TCTAMTradio/television being broadcast by radio or televisionWhat’s on TV tonight?Did you hear that programme on the radio last night?
22recorded used to say in what forminformation is stored or music, films etc are recordedThe movie is now available on video and DVD.I always keep a backup copy on disk.23TRAVELactivity/journey taking part in an activity or travelling somewhereShe’s on a course all this week.I met him on vacation in Canada.My girlfriend is often away on business trips.24SSODSincludedincluded in a group or team of people or in a listAre you still on the management committee?Mr Edwards is no longer on the staff here.Whose team are you on?There was no steak on the menu.What’s the next item on the agenda?25when something happens formalIMMEDIATELY as soon as someone has done something or as soon as something has happenedCouples are presented with a bottle of wine on their arrival at the hotel.All patients are examined on admission to the hospital.on doing somethingWhat was your reaction on seeing him?26compared with somethingCOMPAREcompared with another person or thingThis essay is a definite improvement on your last one.Sales are 10% up on last year.
27carrying something informalHAVE if you have something on you, you have it in your pocket, your bag etcI don’t have any money on me.28 →be on somebody29telephone number used to say what number you should use in order to telephone someonesyn at American EnglishYou can contact me on this number.30causing somebody problemsBREAK used when something bad happens to you, for example when something you are using suddenly stops working, or someone you have a relationship with suddenly leaves youSuddenly the telephone went dead on me.Dorothy’s first husband walked out on her.
onon2 ●●●S1W1 adjective, adverb [not before noun]1CONTINUE/NOT STOPcontinuing used to say that someone continues to do something or something continues to happen, without stoppingWe decided to play on even though it was snowing.He went on and on (=talked for a very long time) about his job all evening.2FORWARDfurther if you move, walk etc on, you move forward or further towards somethingIf you walk on a little, you can see the coast.We drove on towards Manchester.3BEFOREAFTERlater later than or after a particular timeNow, 40 years on, this is one of the most successful theatres in the country.From that moment on I never believed a word she said.4DCCwearing somethingWEAR CLOTHES if you have something on, you are wearing itAll he had on was a pair of tattered shorts.Put your coat on. It’s freezing outside.5attached used to say that something is attached to something else, especially when it is in the correct position opp offIs the cover on properly?Remember to put the lid back on.
6written used to say that something is written somewhereHe was wearing a badge with his name on.7TTENTERtransport in or into a bus, train etc opp offThe train stopped and two people got on.8ON/SWITCHED ONlight/machine if a machine, light etc is on, it is operating opp offWho left all the lights on?The TV’s on, but nobody seems to be watching it.He sat down at the desk and switched on the computer.9TCBTELEVISION/RADIObeing broadcast if a radio or television programme etc is on, it is being broadcastWhat time is ‘Star Trek’ on?10HAPPENevents if an event is on, it has been arranged and is happening or will happen opp offThe transport union has confirmed that the strike is definitely on.I’d avoid the city centre – there’s some kind of procession on.Is the party still on tonight or have they cancelled it?11APTperforming/speakingperforming or speaking in publicYou’re on in two minutes.12working if you are on at a particular time, you are doing your job at that timeI’m not on again until two o'clock tomorrow.13 →have something on14 →on and off15 →be/go/keep on at somebody16 →be/go/keep on about something17 →be not on18 →be on for something19 →you’re on →onto
Examples from the Corpus
on• You should visit Chicago while the festival is on.• OK, who left the lights on?• Rick was standing there with nothing on.• I sent Dan on ahead to find us seats at the theater.• Put your shoeson, and let's go.• There's a good comedyon at eight.• I usually get on at Irving Street.• As far as we know, the game is still on for tomorrow.• Let's go on. I want to get home before it gets dark.• You're on in two minutes.on and on• I could go on and on but you already got more than you probably wanted out of this answer.• I hope, I really hope, that this will not drag on and on and on.• I went on and on at her: draw me, draw me, draw me, Mummy!• It goes on and on that way for two solidmonths, like a sixty-day trance-like a contact high.• She goes on and on and on.• The high bluesummerweather goes on and on and by mid-afternoon it's hot up here under the leads.• The war may well just go on and on.• Yet the pump runs on and on, its noise now a constantaccompaniment to their once-quiet lives.