Prepositions can sometimes drive us crazy. Which to use? When? And how? Those are often not simple questions to answer.
Take a look at “Contact Us On” and “Contact Us At”. Is one right and the other wrong? Do we have to dismiss one of the forms? Let’s find out.
Both “Contact Us On” and “Contact Us At” can be correct, depending on the sentence. And this is probably why you’ve seen both being used before. One relates to the medium (“contact us on our email”), while the other relates to the destination (“contact us at 800-555-1234).
Still sounds complicated? Let’s take a look at some examples:
- Contact me on my cell phone, if you need me after hours.
- Contact me at this number, if you need me after hours.
- He contacted us on the radio.
- He contacted us at home.
Look at the first sentence. The cell phone is the medium used to make contact, and no specific number is shared. In that case, the preposition “on” should follow the contact request: “Contact Us On” is the correct form here.
On the second, however, it’s mentioned that a specific number should be called. It’s a destination, and therefore, the preposition “at” should be used with the contact request. In that case, “Contact Us At” is the correct form.
“Contact Us On” sounds less common, because usually we provide people with the specific information to contact us. Think about this: how will people contact you if they don’t have the exact destination? But when pointing to a medium, “Contact Us On” is the correct form to be used.
How to use “Contact Us On” in a sentence:
- He said he’ll contact us on the satellite cell phone.
- I’ve told my boss to contact me on my home phone.
- Can I contact you on the walkie talkie?
- What if they try to contact us on the office telephone?
- Should I contact them on their personal cell phones?
The preposition “on” should only be used with “contact us” if the conversation is about the medium used for the contact to be made.
As you can notice by the examples, those sentences offer no specific information as to how to contact those people. They are only conversations about which medium to use for the contact to be made.
To better understand it, let’s look at the form “Contact Us At”.
“Contact Us At” should be used every time we specifically share the destination where we should be contacted at: a number, a location, etc. It’s also correct to use this form when specifying a time when the contact should be made.
Let’s see how to use “Contact Us At” in a sentence:
- Contact us at the office number, whenever you need to.
- I contacted her at her house two days ago.
- They contacted us at the wrong number.
- Have you tried to contact Peter at his personal number?
- Please, contact us at 3pm for your phone interview.
In every example you have a specific destination (or target, or time, etc.) that indicates how the contact should be made.
Which one of those two forms is used more often? Take a look at the graph from Google Ngram Viewer below.
It’s interesting to notice that until the 1940’s, the expressions “Contact Us On” and “Contact Us At” were rarely used, probably because communication was way more difficult back then.
But even after those expressions became more common, “Contact Us At” has always been used with more frequency.
It makes sense, if we think about it. The use of “Contact Us On” is very limited. It only serves a few situations. Therefore, it seems quite obvious that “Contact Us At” would pop up more often, in daily life.
Although “Contact Us On” is not the most frequently used form, it’s not necessarily incorrect. If you’re just discussing the medium used to make contact, “on” should be the preposition to use. However, when indicating a specific location where the contact should be made, always use “Contact Us At”.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.