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what is the difference between the following sentence:

1, He is in a meeting.

2, He is at a meeting.

3, He is on a meeting.

I have found that the difference between first 2 sentences is in a meeting implies being on the same premises as the speaker, but at a meeting implies being on a different premises than the speaker..

But I did find any information about on a meeting or on the meeting on google, however, I found there are 380 records about on a meeting and 880 records about on the meeting on http://corpus.byu.edu/now/, and although some of those records are not what I'm asking.

So, I want to know if we can use the preposition on in front meeting? And if so, what is the difference between the 3 sentences?

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  • You should add example sentences that you found that illustrate your concern.
    – user3169
    Mar 17, 2017 at 17:56

2 Answers 2

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You've rightly called out the differences between the first two statements:

He is in a meeting

The above statement refers to the person attending a meeting in the same premises (i.e. on site).

On the other hand:

He is at a meeting

Refers to the person attending a meeting at another premises (i.e. off-site).

Coming to your third statement:

He is on a meeting

The above statement incorrect, and should not be use. The preposition "on" would only be used for calls, such as:

He is on the phone

Although one often hears people mentioning "His is on a call", it is probably preferable to state it as "in a call" to reflect the fact that he is in a phone call. "On a call" tends to give an impression of a professional making a house call (e.g. a doctor visiting a patient, or a plumber at a home for repairs).

Note: the above paragraph was edited based on @user3169's input. The original version said "on a call" was incorrect, while in reality it isn't that black-and-white.

Upvoting your question for the research you've put into it.

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  • 1
    Why is "on a call" incorrect?
    – user3169
    Mar 17, 2017 at 17:54
  • "On a call" tends to imply being on a house call (e.g. a doctor visiting a patient) as opposed to using the phone. Take a look at this: english.stackexchange.com/questions/16504/…
    – Phylyp
    Mar 17, 2017 at 17:57
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    I wasn't really arguing, but since both versions are commonly used you might add your explanation to your answer (rather than just saying it is wrong).
    – user3169
    Mar 17, 2017 at 18:14
  • Very fair point. I have amended my answer to reflect that.
    – Phylyp
    Mar 17, 2017 at 18:18
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    You are too quick to dismiss on; the idea that on suggests a house call is rather old-fashioned— such a case would more likely be expressed as being out on a call. Similarly, on can be used in reference to items on an agenda, and so my assistant might say I am on a meeting, on lunch, or on training if asked for.
    – choster
    Mar 17, 2017 at 20:21
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He is in a meeting.

Implies the subject is meeting with others nearby in an enclosed space such as an office of conference room.

He is at a meeting.

Implies the subject is meeting somewhere else where the details of the space are unknown such on a different floor or in a different building.

He is on a meeting.

Implies the subject is participating in a video or conference call.

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