“Copy On” vs. “Copy In” An Email – Easy Preposition Guide

Prepositions are notorious for being confusing. It seems like there are many options, but sometimes, people use grammatically incorrect prepositions at the wrong time. This article will look at using “copy on” and “copy in” in an email and show you which is correct.

Do You “Copy On” Or “Copy In” An Email?

Both “copy on” and “copy in” are correct to use. Emails are related to the internet, which is still a relatively new concept when you look at language as a whole. Neither “copy on” nor “copy in” have had a chance to evolve and prove that one option is correct.

copy on vs copy in an email

So, both of these examples make sense:

  • Can you copy me on the email?
  • Can you copy me in the email?

But why does this happen?

“On” is a preposition that refers to being on top of a surface of some variation. It usually refers to a two-dimensional area and something that a person can stand on or get on top of.

“In” refers to being inside of a container of some kind. It refers to a three-dimensional area that will allow a person or thing to climb inside.

However, an email is neither a two- nor three-dimensional area. It’s all online, which means there are no specific dimensions to it. Therefore, no language rules teach us whether “in” or “on” are the correct choices.

Again, emails and the internet are still very new to the world. In a few decades, there may come a time when “copy in” and “copy on” are defined more thoroughly. Should such a time occur, then maybe one preposition will be more valuable than the other.

For the time being, though, both are correct.

Is It Ever Correct To Use “Copy In” An Email?

We’ve already stated that both forms are correct. Unfortunately, nothing specifically tells us which works and which doesn’t. This is also a good thing since it means we can never be grammatically incorrect.

“Copy in” is correct in an email. Some people like to use “in” as the preposition because it refers to the contents of the email. Since the words within the email are “in” it, it’s possible for someone’s name to be “in” the email too.

The same rules apply when using “on.” Some people don’t like to think of their names being contained “inside” the email (since they’re added before the main body of the text).

That’s why there’s an argument over whether “in” or “on” is correct.

We don’t always get the chance to say that personal preference overrules the English language much, but this is one case where it rings true.

The only rule you need to follow is this, if you prefer “copy in,” use it. If you prefer “copy on,” use it.

Examples Of How To Use “Copy In” And “Copy On” In A Sentence

Some examples might help you to learn more about it.

Before we go over them, it’s important to mention that the two phrasal verbs typically have a pronoun between them. For example, you’d be more likely to say “copy me in” or “copy you on” than you would just “copy in” and “copy on” on their own.

  1. Would you like me to copy you in the document that I’m about to send off?
  2. I need you to copy me on this one. I think I want to keep up with the progress.
  3. I knew he would be copied in here. I didn’t want him to read it, but I guess I can’t stop it now.
  4. Why have you copied Matthew on this email? I didn’t expect him to be interested in this information.
  5. Can you copy me in, please? I need to make sure that everything goes according to plan.
  6. Would you like to be copied on? I think there are a few people who are already on the list.
  7. Shall we copy him in as well? It’s only fair since he’s the manager of this place.
  8. I want you to copy me on for future inquiries. I need to know what’s going on around here.

Both “in” and “on” are correct. We do not need to differentiate between the two because there are no language rules that value one over the other.

Is It “CC Me In” Or “CC Me On”?

The same rules apply when we replace “copy” with “CC.” We can still use both prepositions, and it might help to learn more about them.

“CC me in” and “CC me on” are both correct. Again, the concept of emails and copying is relatively new compared to the English language. Neither preposition has had a chance to outgrow the other one in popularity.

Remember that we stated “in” refers to a container and “on” refers to a surface. Well, there are two ways to think about an email, and that’s why we use the prepositions differently when “CC’ing” someone in.

If you consider an email to be a letter, you would always use the preposition “on.” Letters are a two-dimensional piece of paper, which is why “on” is appropriate.

However, if you consider an email to be an informational container (since the body of text holds valuable information), the preposition “in” would be better suited to you.

Here are some examples to help you with it:

  • Can you CC me in this email so that I can receive the attachments too?
  • Would you like me to CC you on this email to hear what they have to say?
  • I need to be CC’d in this as well, thank you.
  • Can you CC him on, just like I told you before?

You may also like: Cc’d or cc’ed: Here’s the correct version with 10 examples

4 Better Ways To Say “Copy On” An Email

Finally, let’s look at some other ways we might be able to use “copy on” and “copy in.”

  • CC me on
  • Address me
  • Include me
  • Add me

There aren’t many good alternatives to “copy” and “CC.” We use them very frequently when referring to including our names in an email that isn’t addressed initially to us. However, you might still benefit from one of the ones we listed.