“On The Market” Or “In The Market”? Easy Preposition Guide

When it comes to using prepositions correctly with “the market,” you might be a little confused between “on” and “in.” This article will help you understand the difference between the two so that you won’t make the mistake of confusing them again.

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

You should use “on the market” when you’re talking about stocks or commodities that are traded “on the market.” You should use “in the market” when a person (a trader) is currently shopping around, looking for stocks or commodities to buy or invest in.

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

What most people struggle with here is what “the market” is. We’re not using “the market” to mean a physical place, like a “marketplace” that sells groceries and other assortments of food and collectibles.

Instead, “the market” refers to the metaphorical economic market, which can’t be touched, but can be invested in. We can look at stocks and shares or commodities and products as being “on the market” before people buy them.

What Does “On The Market” Mean?

Let’s start by diving a little deeper into the meaning of the two phrases.

“On the market” means that we’re talking about stocks and commodities that are being sold or traded. We use “market” to refer to the economic market, where all goods go to be sold or traded.

In this case, “on the market” doesn’t refer to being physically on top of a marketplace (which is what the “on” preposition would suggest if this were true). Instead, we’re just trying to show that something is available for people to buy.

What Does “In The Market” Mean?

“In the market” is what we use when people are looking to buy certain goods or services. Someone can be “in the market” when they’re looking for a specific thing, and they’ll often mention what that thing is before they end the sentence.

“In the market” again refers to a non-physical location. While “in” would still work in the case of a marketplace (since we can physically walk inside of a marketplace), that isn’t why we use it here.

Is “On The Market” Or “In The Market” Used The Most?

The phrases are both correct, and both are used in modern English. They’re also not interchangeable with each other, meaning they will have results in a graph that won’t be skewed because of confusing usage.

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “in the market” is used the most, but it’s only just more popular than “on the market.” Both phrases have been very similar in usage throughout history.

Is "On The Market" Or "In The Market" Used The Most?

Before the 1880s, it seems like “On the market” wasn’t a thing, which suggests that “in the market” was used to talk about both people and goods being available on the market or looking to trade goods.

However, once “on the market” was introduced, it saw a clear rise above “In the market” in the first few decades. After that, it dropped back down again, and now the two phrases are very close together in common English usage.

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

It might help you to see some examples of how “on the market” can work. With this, you’ll understand what we mean when we say that we can only use it to talk about goods or commodities.

  1. This house is on the market now, and you can find more about the listing online.
  2. I’ve put this up on the market, and I’m sure someone will be around shortly to look into it.
  3. Have you put any of your stocks on the market? I’m sure I know a few people who will be more than happy to invest.
  4. Please don’t put my stuff on the market yet! I haven’t come to terms with losing any of this stuff, and I haven’t decided what I want to get rid of.
  5. I’m going to put all of my old belongings on the market. I can’t keep them here forever, and it’s time they found a new home.
  6. If you’ve ever found yourself browsing wares on the market, you’re probably going to waste some money on things you don’t need.

“On the market” works when we’re talking about goods or services that we can sell on the economic market.

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

“In the market” refers to people who are actively looking to buy something. That’s the key difference that we can take away from this, and these examples will demonstrate that.

  1. I’m in the market for a new vacuum cleaner. Do you have any good recommendations for me?
  2. I’m in the housing market now, and I’m ready to spend an awful lot of money, so long as I get the right house!
  3. He’s in the market for new shoes because his old ones are completely falling to pieces!
  4. I’ve been in the market for a new house for years, but nothing ever seems to come from it.
  5. I don’t know if you’re in the market for anything I’m selling, but I promise you can’t go wrong with these appliances!
  6. We’re not in the market for any new clothes at the minute, but we appreciate your offer.

“In the market” works when we’re talking about people looking to buy things. It’s most common to use when we’re talking about the “housing market,” where people buy and sell their homes.

Is It Ever Correct To Use “At The Market”?

There is one other preposition that you might see used with “the market,” and that is “at.” However, the meaning is completely different from the other two.

“At the market” is correct when you want to talk about physically being “at” a marketplace. This time, we are talking about a physical place, and we have traveled there to buy from the marketplace.

  • I’m at the market now, so let me know if you want anything.
  • I’ll be at the market in three hours’ time, so make sure you save me some of my favorite things!
  • We’re at the market if you want to come and see us!

According to Google Ngram Viewer, “at the market” is the least popular choice compared to “in the market” or “on the market.”

on the market, in the market, at the market

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