On The Internet vs. In The Internet – Here’s The Correct Version

Prepositions are interesting words. They’re often so small, like “on” or “in,” but they can have such a large impact on the overall meaning of a sentence. However, it’s important you use the right one when you’re writing. So, is it on the internet or in the internet?

Is It “On The Internet” Or “In The Internet”?

The correct version is “on the internet.” When we’re talking about the internet, we’re referring to finding the contents ON it, which is why we use “on the internet.” We don’t find the contents of the internet IN it unless we’re talking about the actual hardware and infrastructure.

Is It "On The Internet" Or "In The Internet"?

If you look at this graph, you’ll see just how popular “on the internet” is compared to “in the internet.” “In the internet” is sometimes used, but it is not widely recognized and is not the correct way to write the phrase.

Historical development in the use of "on the internet" and "in the internet"

The only reason this graph shows any use for “in the internet” is because of confusion about the prepositions. It is not a correct term and should be avoided. “On the internet” is correct in every circumstance.

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Is It Ever Correct To Use “In The Internet”?

“In the internet” is only correct if you’re talking about exploring the hardware or structure of the internet itself. Since this is a difficult thing to achieve (because we are only presented with the internet and everything on it), we’ll most likely never use “in the internet” correctly.

“In the internet” implies that we’re physically inside the internet. Since the internet is something that is inside a computer or phone, we can’t go inside of it; we can only go on it. That’s why we use “on” instead of “in” in every circumstance.

If we look at this example:

  • I found that in the internet.

Then that would be incorrect. We are talking about something we found on the contents of the internet, which is why “on the internet” works here. However, if we say:

  • I found that copper in the internet’s wiring.

Then that would make sense. The only problem is it’ll be very rare that a situation like this will ever occur! Still, it’s nice to know that “in the internet” does exist.

Should You Always Use “The” Before “Internet”?

You should always make sure you’re using “the” before “internet.” The reason for this is because the internet is one single thing, and there is nothing like it.

“The” is used to show that something is one of a kind. Since the internet is the only thing in the world that is the internet, we must always include “the” before writing “internet.”

Think about the following three examples:

  • I found that on the internet.
  • I found that on an internet.
  • I found that on internet.

The first one is the only correct example. It is “the internet” because it’s the only one of its kind in the world. Without “the internet,” there wouldn’t be another internet to back it up.

The second example uses “an,” which is an impersonal word showing that there’s usually more than one. Since there isn’t more than one internet, we can’t use “an.”

Finally, the third example shows no word and just uses “internet” on its own. This is also wrong because we have to show that “the internet” was responsible for the information we found.

Examples Of How To Use “On The Internet” In A Sentence

Now let’s go through some examples of when to use “on the internet” in a sentence. As we said, this is by far the most common way to write it and is the only acceptable phrase of the two we’ve mentioned in this article so far.

Make sure you use “on the internet” when you’re talking about anything you’ve read or found within the contents of the internet.

  1. I read all about pigs on the internet yesterday.
  2. You’ll find what you’re looking for on the internet!
  3. How do you get on the internet with this old-fashioned phone?
  4. Where do I find what I’m looking for on the internet?
  5. That’s what I heard on the internet, though you might want to check for yourself!
  6. We can all search for it on the internet.
  7. Let’s browse on the internet until we find what we’re looking for.

As you can see, there are plenty of situations where we might use it. Whenever we’re talking about being “on the internet,” we’re talking about browsing it and searching for just about anything (we all know how expansive the internet can be).

Examples Of How To Use “In The Internet” In A Sentence

What about when we use “in the internet” then? Well, as we’ve said already, this one is a lot more specific, and there are very few examples where it will work.

  1. I found copper wiring in the internet!
  2. What do you reckon is in the internet’s infrastructure?
  3. Could we find what we’re looking for in the internet’s wiring?

In every case here, we have to talk about something that belongs to the internet and talk about it as if we physically have access to it. This will never be the case, as the internet is not a tangible thing, so the chances you’ll ever use “in the internet” correctly are very slim.

Which Other Prepositions Can Be Used Together With “Internet”?

Finally, let’s look at some of the other potential prepositions that might appear when we use “internet” in the sentence.

Over The Internet

We might use this one when we’re talking about communicating through the internet. That means we’re talking to one person from one system while they’re on the other.

  • We spoke over the internet yesterday.

Through The Internet

This one works similarly to “over the internet,” where two computers or phones connect to each other for communication.

  • We connected through the internet last night.

By The Internet

Again, “by” is used here to show a connection between two machines while requiring an internet connection.

  • She spoke to me by the internet; it was a really nice night.