The two similar phrases “sit on my lap” and “sit in my lap” can be a subject of confusion for readers and writers due to their similar meanings. This brief guide will discuss the difference in the meaning of “sit on my lap” and “sit in my lap” using examples.
Is It “Sit On My Lap” Or “Sit In My Lap”?
Both “sit on my lap” and “sit in my lap” are correct to use, but the meanings are slightly different. “Sit on my lap” refers to perching on the surface of the lap, whilst “sit in my lap” means to be more engulfed in the lap, often sexually.
Some people argue that the phrase “sit in my lap” is grammatically incorrect despite the fact that this phrase is colloquially used in writing and conversation.
This is because the word “on” means to be touching or supported by a surface and “in” refers to an area, place, or container where something or someone is. In this argument, only the word “on” could be associated with the surface of a lap.
What Does “Sit On My Lap” Mean?
“Sit on my lap” refers to something or someone positioned on the thighs of a person.
Because the word “on” is used in this sentence, it refers to the lap of the person providing support in the same way that a surface does.
To help you to understand the meaning of the phrase “sit on my lap” take time to consult the following helpful example sentences:
- Would you like to sit on my lap, Julie; there are no more seats on the train because it is very busy.
- I am happy for you to sit on my lap because there is no more space in this train carriage at the moment.
- Sit on my lap and read the book with me; I will help you to understand the mathematics homework more easily.
- Sit on my lap if you like. I don’t mind; you aren’t very heavy and my legs are quite strong!
- Sarah, sit on my lap and be quiet; try not to annoy your Mother this early in the morning, she needs to get ready for work.
- I asked her to sit on my lap because I needed her to calm down; she was crying in the busy shopping center and making a lot of noise.
- Sit on my lap, please. I need to talk to you, Jane. Your behavior is unacceptable.
What Does “Sit In My Lap” Mean?
“Sit in my lap” means to be more engulfed in the space of the person’s lap. This could refer to the smaller size of the person sitting “in” the lap; this could even be a small animal sitting “in” the lap. The phrase is also used in a lewd or sexual manner.
Some people argue that the phrase “sit in my lap” is grammatically incorrect because the lap is a surface and should be used with the word “on”.
The meaning of the phrase “sit in my lap” can be complex to understand. These useful example sentences should help your understanding of the meaning and usage of the phrase “sit in my lap”:
- You can sit in my lap if you like, maybe we can get to know each other better.
- Sit in my lap and go to sleep. Everything will be okay again in the morning.
- You cannot sit in my lap, Sarah. That would be inappropriate. This is a public place where everyone can see us.
- I let her sit in my lap during the car journey home and she began to kiss me.
- I allowed the cat to sit in my lap and soon it began to purr. After ten minutes the cat was sound asleep.
- Jane has a small dog and I was happy for her to sit in my lap next to the warm fireplace.
- Sit in my lap Julia, my jumper material is very soft and warm. You will find it a comfortable place to sit.
Are “Sit On My Lap” And “Sit In My Lap” Interchangeable?
There is much debate about whether “sit on my lap” and “sit in my lap” can be used interchangeably. It is really a matter of the preference of the speaker. “Sit on my lap” is used far more than “sit in my lap”, suggesting the two phrases are not interchangeable.
Those following grammar rules strictly may regard “sit in my lap” as technically incorrect if the lap is more of a surface, or might view the phrase “sit in my lap” as more unnatural in a sentence than “sit on my lap”.
Is “Sit On My Lap” Or “Sit In My Lap” Used The Most?
Overall, the phrase “sit on my lap” has been used in sentences more than the phrase “sit in my lap”.
This graph from Google Ngram Viewer illustrates the usage of the phrases “sit on my lap” and “sit in my lap” in the time period 1800 to 2019. The line in blue represents the usage of “sit on my lap” and the line in red represents the usage of “sit in my lap”.
As the graph shows, the phrase “sit on my lap” is currently used far more than the phrase “sit in my lap”. Usage of the two phrases was fairly similar until around 1972 when the usage of “sit on my lap” began to steeply increase.
Whilst the two phrases are often used interchangeably in an informal manner, ” sit on my lap” refers to the motion of sitting on the surface of the lap, whilst “sit in my lap” is to be engulfed in the space of the lap.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.