“On A Project” Or “In A Project” – Easy Preposition Guide

English has been described as one of the most complicated languages to perfect. The many grammar rules and exceptions make it hard for even native speakers.

The prepositional phrases “on a project” versus “in a project” can be difficult to understand, but you will hopefully learn the difference today.

Is It “On A Project” Or “In A Project”?

Both “on a project” and “in a project” are correct. You should use “on a project” to describe outside influences that don’t affect the project itself. You should use “in a project” to describe internal parts that will serve as important information in the actual project.

on a project or in a project

Depending on the context of how you are using each phrase, they both can be considered correct. Tone and emphasis play fairly major roles in how words are interpreted.

When considering information that may become part of the project, “in a project” will be preferred. However, if you are using something as an aid in understanding or research, using “on a project” will be best.

Sometimes it helps to see how they work on their own to truly see the difference when put together. To further break it down, we’ll look at “on a project” by itself to see what it means without comparison.

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What Does “On A Project” Mean?

The easiest way to describe the meaning of “on a project”, is to think of it as the research and preparation phase, the information is not in the project, but it acts as a start to the project’s beginning.

Looking at this phrase in more depth might help to clear everything up a bit more. Think of it like this, if you want to go on a trip, you plan it before you book anything.

“On a project” is the planning stage, it’s the phrase you would use to get your thoughts together before you make any moves. Planning a trip is just as important, but it is completely different from actually spending the money to go.

This prepositional phrase is also more general, when people are working “on a project”, that is just a description of what they are doing without the specifics.

Examples Of How To Use “On A Project” In A Sentence

  • If I want to enter the science fair, I have to get started on a project today.
  • They wanted to start on a project together, but the teacher split them up.
  • How do you start on a project without having a topic yet?
  • She was working on a project for the class, but it got ruined yesterday.
  • The deadline is coming up, but they still haven’t decided on a project yet.

What Does “In A Project” Mean?

The easiest way to understand the meaning of “in a project”, is to think of this phrase as the base level. This is the information that makes the project what it is, basically the structure and filling.

Looking back at the vacation example mentioned above, “in a project” would be compared to the action step. This is when you buy the tickets and the hotel room, the parts of the trip you need to even go on a vacation.

When you want to use this phrase, it is typically for parts of a project that can be considered the foundation. The project wouldn’t be the same if this information wasn’t in it.

This phrase is typically more specific, you can find out what someone is studying or researching based on what they decide to put “in a project”.

Examples Of How To Use “In A Project” In A Sentence

  • The website she found was very useful, so she saved it to put in a project later.
  • I was the captain of my soccer team, so they put me in a project at school to inspire others.
  • Should we use this book in a project for History class?
  • He found a great reference photo that he could use in a project for Art.
  • They collected all the information they had on bugs to put in a project about beetles and butterflies.

Is “In The System” Or “On the System” Used Most?

If you take a look at the Google Ngram Viewer, you will notice that there is a distinction between “in the system” and “on the system”, “in the system” has always been the more favored of the two.

on a project vs in a project historical development

People tend to use the phrases that make the most sense to them. If you look at “in the system” versus “on the system”, you will find that people are noticeably more comfortable using the first option.

Also, keep in mind how much the time you live in will affect the way you speak. What may be more popular now could have been considered uncommon a hundred years ago, but this isn’t always the case.

This graph shows a clear difference between the two prepositional phrases. Even as far back as the 1800s, there has been favoritism for “in the system” compared to “on the system”.

This doesn’t make one phrase more correct than the other, “in the system” just flows better in writing and conversation. Try it for yourself, think of two sentences for each phrase, and decide which sentences were easier to come up with.

Which Other Prepositions Can Be Used With “A Project”?

If you would like to see some examples, a couple of prepositions including with, at, concerning, until, and into will be explained and used in example sentences below.

Prepositions are described as words that support or relate to the pronoun or noun in the sentence. There are many different prepositions you can use, but only a few can be used with “a project”.

With A Project

You would use “with a project” to demonstrate a sense of time. There is generally what you would use to represent the beginning of a project you haven’t started or decided on yet.

  • The group wants to win the competition, so they have to come up with a project that no one else has done before.

At A Project

The prepositional phrase “at a project” should be used about location, where the project is or will be.

  • He was afraid that he wouldn’t be able to beat anyone at a project fair in his city.

Concerning A Project

If you want to use the phrase “concerning a project”, use it when describing an emotion, basically it’s how you feel about the project.

  • She had a few worries concerning a project she was working on for that class, so she went to the teacher for help.

Until a project

The phrase “until a project” is also used to express a sense of time. Specifically with “until”, this phrase is demonstrating a sense of waiting for something involving the project.

  • I guess we have to sit here with nothing to do until a project is ready for us.

Into A Project

You should use “into a project” to describe the addition of something, like more information, time, effort, etc.

  • Maya put everything she had into a project for school to win the competition.