First responders found about 46 people who appeared to have overdosed on the New Haven Green on Wednesday, with 25 of those overdoses occurring within a three-hour span in the morning and some four to six at a time, officials said.

'New Haven Green' is a park's name. We usually say in the park or at the park. It seems to me that New Haven Green here is referencing to a site. Therefore, they put "on the New Haven Green", just like "on the New Haven Green site". But I am not quite sure if this is the very reason. I'm also wondering if it's still correct to put "in the New Haven Green" in this context? If so, is there any difference?

The full source.

  • 1
    I think it was because in addition to being in the name, green also describes the surface color of the park (as on a golf course). The writer could have visualized it either way. In another view, you might say there were overdoses "on the Golden Gate Bridge", but not "in the Golden Gate Bridge". Just saying it is a proper name isn't conclusive. Basically, "in the park" or "on the green" goes through my mind.
    – user3169
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 5:45

1 Answer 1


The reason is because it's called a green.

green noun [ C ]
us ​ /ɡrin/ regional US
green noun [ C ] (PLANTS)

  • an area planted with grass, esp. for use by the public:
    The fair will be held on the green behind the library.
  • A green is also an area of smooth grass surrounding a hole on a golf course.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

4 : a grassy plain or plot: such as
a : a common or park in the center of a town or village
b : putting green

At least in AmE, we say something is or happens on the green. To me, *in the New Haven Green sounds awkward, but others might disagree.

The justification I can think of is that a green is flat, like a surface, and so we use on. That may not be the best justification, but it could help you memorize it.

  • 2
    It would, however, likely be in the New Haven Green park. ;) Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 3:31
  • But "Green" is part of the name. It seems to make more sense if it is written as "on the New Haven green".
    – dan
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 4:12
  • @dan No. That way, it sounds like a (some) park in New Haven. It's not the park called "New Haven Green".
    – Em.
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 6:18
  • 1
    Agree with the justification. A "green" is naturally thought of (to English speakers) as a flat 2D surface that you can be "on" but not "in", while a "park" is considered a 3D space, including the air, which explains how we can be "in" but not "on". It was very interesting for me to learn that Thai uses "on the sky" (sounds very wrong in English) so the way of perceiving and communicating about space is obviously determined by the language we speak. Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 7:22

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