English Grammar: Confusion between IN and ON?

I'm really confused when to use in and on

For example,

The sad look on/in her face.

The sadness in/on her eyes.

She slapped him on/in the face.

She kicked him on/in the nuts.

There's a dirt on/in his face.

Please help!!! Please give rules/tips in identifying when to use IN and ON properly.

Thanks~

2 Answers

Relevance
  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The sad look on her face. // the look could actually be IN or ON, I'd say OF or IN

    The sadness in her eyes. // we look IN others' eyes

    She slapped him in the face. // it's typical to assault others IN rather than ON, unless it's the butt xD

    He kicked him in the nuts. // same as the previous

    There's dirt on his face. // the dirt is laying on the surface of his face, not in his face. That would mean that the dirt would in his skin.

    There aren't any rules. Actually, it's just a thing that everybody says and speakers of English get used to and begin to say themselves.

  • 8 years ago

    The sad look on her face.

    The sadness in her eyes.

    She slapped him on the face. although "across the face" would be better

    She kicked him in the nuts.

    There's dirt on his face. no "a", or you could say "a piece of dirt"

    It's usually "on a face" because your face is like a surface, "in eyes" because the eyes are kind of "inside" your head (I guess, I haven't heard a rule about that). And you kick "in" and punch "in" but slap "across"--maybe because kicking and punching go deeper and slapping goes wider? I'm not sure.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.