“On The Train” Or “In The Train”? Preposition Guide For Transportation

We have to make sure to use the correct preposition when we’re dealing with transportation. For example, “on the train” and “in the train” both seem to be options, but only one is correct. This article will explore which is better to use.

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

You should use “on the train” when you want to say that you are traveling by train and making your way to your destination via a train. You should use “in the train” only when you want to specifically refer to your position being inside of a train.

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

“On the train” is much more common because we use it to talk about traveling on the train as a vehicle. We only use “in the train” in more specific circumstances, when someone might have asked us for our specific location.

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

Rather than simply telling you that one is more common than the other, we believe it’s better to show you the differences with visual examples.

According to this graph, “on the train” is much more common, and it’s rare to use “in the train.” About 100 years ago, both were equal, and before then “in the train” was the popular choice, but “on the train” is now the only popular one.

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

We mostly use “on” because we have to physically walk onto a train to border it. To counter this, we don’t walk onto a car; we simply “get in” one, which is why we drive “in a car” instead of “on a car.”

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

Let’s go over when we might use “on the train” as the main preposition. Remember, this is the most common variation, so it’s likely you’ll see this compared to anything else.

  1. He’s on the train and should arrive in fifty minutes.
  2. Apparently, you’re on the train already. Why didn’t you tell me?
  3. I’m on the train, and I’m heading to you now.
  4. I have to be on the train in five minutes!
  5. She needs to be on the train! Don’t slow her down.
  6. Are you on the train yet?
  7. Why are we on the train? I thought we were driving.

“On the train” refers to traveling via the train. If we use the train as the mode of transportation, we say “on the train.”

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

“In the train” is much less common. We can only use it in the specific case of someone asking us where we’re located, which is rare when we’re already on a train. Still, it’ll help to see some examples to explain this.

  1. I’m in the train towards the back.
  2. You’ll find me somewhere in the train if you keep looking.
  3. Are you in this train? I can’t find you!
  4. I’m in the train car behind you.
  5. I’m in the train car a few spaces back.
  6. You’re not in the train car with me!
  7. Are you in the train car?

“In the train” refers to being physically inside the train, and we usually only say it if someone else is also in the train and looking for our position.

Typically, we say “in the train” when we include the word “car” or “carriage” after it to refer to a more specific location. Using “in the train” as a standalone phrase is rare.

Is It “Sitting In The Train” Or “Sitting On The Train”?

If we apply the verb “sitting” to the start of the phrase, we’re left with a different set of rules.

“Sitting in the train” is correct because we’re talking about specifically sitting on a seat “inside” of the train. “Sitting on the train” would mean we’re sitting on the roof of the train on the outside, which isn’t something anyone would do.

When Should I Use “By Train”?

If you want to talk about the method by which you’re traveling, sometimes you might use “by” instead of “on the.” It’s just a quicker way of saying what vehicle you’re using to get to a place.

“By train” means we’re traveling using a train. We can say it in place of “on the train,” and it’s slightly quicker and easier to use. We can also say it about any other vehicle, as long as it gets us from point A to point B.

Generally, we need the verb “getting there” or “arriving” before “by train” for it to work.

  • I’m getting there by train.
  • I’m arriving by train soon.

We can also see it with other vehicles:

  • I’m arriving by boat.
  • I’m arriving by plane.
  • I’m arriving by car.

Why Is It “On The Train” But “In The Car”?

We say “on the train” because we physically walk onto a train to board it. We sit down on a seat once in the carriage, but we get “on” it by walking. We say “in the car” because we get inside a car and directly into a seat. They are too small to walk around in.

We can use this rule in other aspects of vehicular travel. For example, buses, planes, and boats are all large enough to walk around inside before taking our seats. For that reason, the following are true:

For Which Transportation Methods Should I Use “In”?

Sometimes, we might use “in” as the preposition for vehicular travel, but it’s certainly not the most common case. The following vehicles are the only times you might use “in.”

  • In a car
  • In a buggy
  • In a dinghy

We use “in” for smaller vehicles when we are capable of getting inside of them. Usually, we open the door, and we’re instantly in the seat with no ability to walk around.

For Which Transportation Methods Should I Use “On”?

The vehicles that use “on” are:

  • On a train
  • On a plane
  • On a boat
  • On a motorcycle
  • On a moped
  • On a scooter
  • On a hovercraft
  • On a yacht

“On” vehicles are often bigger and allow us to walk onto them before picking our seats. Also, in the smaller cases of “motorcycles,” we can sit on top of them to operate them, which is why we use “on.”

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10 Words For The Person Who Drives The Train
“On The Bus” or “In The Bus” – Preposition Guide (+Examples)