Understanding the difference and whether to use on vacation or in vacation is important if you’re trying to tell people that you’re about to go on one. It’s also important to know how best to auto-respond to e-mails should you ever go on one. So, let’s look at the two options to find out which is correct.
Is It “On Vacation” Or “In Vacation”?
The correct spelling is “on vacation,” and “in vacation” is never used in English. We say “on vacation” because the phrase shows that we are planning to participate (or are already participating) on a holiday of some kind. We always use “on vacation” to say that we’re on one. The phrase “on a vacation” is interchangeable with “on vacation,” though there is a context difference between the two that we’ll get to.
What Does It Mean To Go On Vacation?
If you’re ever saying that you’re going “on vacation,” it means that you’re going somewhere (either abroad or in-country) and enjoying some quality time there. A vacation always implies time away from work and is most closely associated with a time of relaxation or a way to explore new cultures and cuisines from around the world or the country. Many people are given a very particular set number of weeks to take their vacation each year.
Everyone looks forward to taking their vacations, and they can be taken the whole year-round. Some people like to go to hotter climates in the winter when their home climate is colder, and they want to feel the sun again. Other people might like to go somewhere exotic in the summer to try something new or experience a new way to relax compared to what they might find at home.
Is It Most Common To Use “On Holiday” Or “On Vacation”?
The most common phrase between “on holiday” and “on vacation” depends on where you are in the world. In American English, “on vacation” is the most popular choice of phrase for people to announce that they’re going away from work for a few days or weeks. However, “on holiday” is the appropriate choice in British English, as they do not use the word “vacation.”
This distinction is important to understand if you’re working for one of the countries mentioned above. If you work for a US company, then you should make sure you’re writing about taking “a vacation.” However, if you’re working for a country from the rest of the world (most of the world uses British English rules), then you can say you’re taking “a holiday” instead.
What Should You Write In Your Auto Response E-Mail?
Many people believe it’s important to get the difference between on vacation and in vacation correct if you’re writing an auto-response e-mail. However, this is not the case. If you’re ever writing an auto-response e-mail for work, it needs to be short and to-the-point above all else. For this reason, you never have to explain why you’re out of the office.
Don’t worry about writing that you’re “on vacation” in an email. You can write “I’m out of the office until this date” as an auto-response e-mail. The same rules apply if you’re away because of a medical procedure or off for bereavement. Whatever the reason you’re out of work, the e-mail receiver doesn’t need to know.
Is It Correct To Use “On A Vacation”?
As we’ve mentioned above, saying “on a vacation” is interchangeable with saying “on vacation.” Many people use both, and no one is going to mind either way. However, there are a few telltale differences that might make you use one over the other. Most of the differences are to do with time frames over anything else.
For example, if something is happening soon, we say we’re going “on vacation.” Like:
- I’m going on vacation this weekend.
However, if something is happening further in the future, we would use “on a vacation” instead. Like:
- I’m going on a vacation this summer!
Most people use “on vacation” in both circumstances, and it is the most popular phrase of the two.
Is It Correct To Use “On The Vacation”?
Unlike “on a vacation,” you should never say “on the vacation.” You don’t need to make “vacation” specific when talking about it, even if you know all the specifics yourself. Nobody says “on the vacation” in this way, and you should avoid it yourself. There is one potential way you’d ever use “the” before “vacation,” but you’d never use “on the vacation” as one single phrase.
- The vacation to the US was excellent.
See how we use “the vacation” here when we’re talking about the specifics of it. However, using “on” beforehand will not work and should not be used.
Is It “On Vacation Mode” Or “In Vacation Mode”?
What happens if we’re talking about our “vacation mode,” then? Most people say they’re “in vacation mode” when their mindset has changed, and they’re no longer thinking about work. Instead, they’re looking forward to spending some quality time on their vacation instead. So, even though we say “on vacation,” we say “in vacation mode” because it is a mental state that we’re “in” at the time of saying it.
Alternative Ways Of Saying That You Are On Vacation
Let’s finish by looking at some different ways of saying that you’re “on vacation.” Whether you want to use something more professional for work or simply want to use a phrase that doesn’t seem as popular, we’ll cover some of the most popular choices for everyone to use.
- on holiday
Even though this is more common in British English, people still understand what it means in American English. It’s worth using if you want to say you’re going away somewhere.
- on break
Instead of specifically mentioning you’re out on a vacation, you can just say you’re “on break” from work. It comes with the same meaning, and people understand it.
Having a “respite” means you’re having a break from something. However, this is a very formal way of saying you’re on vacation and should only be used in the most formal of situations.
Martin is the founder of Grammarhow.com. With top grades in English and teaching experience at university level, he is on a mission to share all of his knowledge about the English language. Having written thousands of articles, he is an expert at explaining difficult topics in a simple language.
Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.