I found in an English learners’ textbook a sentence which goes, “Many people helped me on my journey.” That’s no problem. That makes sense to me. What about “in my journey?” Both seem to be okay. However, Google Ngram Viewer says “in my journey” is used a lot more often (link). Then comes up a question. This extract is from a English textbook for Japanese high school students at a lower intermediate or beginner level. Then why “on my journey” rather than “in my journey?” I wonder if “on” is preferred in this context?

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    If two things are both used, then either is fine. Just because one is more common, that doesn't make the other wrong. Both are perfectly okay here. (If we only ever used the most common word or phrase, there wouldn't be any variation or subtle differences in meaning.) Nov 22, 2018 at 3:02
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    The journey is an event, so the prepositions refer to 'time'. 'In' is more specific than 'on' or 'at', so you could use 'on' when referring to the whole journey, and 'in' for specific portion[s].
    – amI
    Nov 22, 2018 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


Concerning prevalence of use, you made a little mistake in Ngram: You looked for "in my journey, on my journeys". Using only the singular, we see a quite different usage curve.

More to the core of the question:

The noun 'journey' is also used metaphorically. "In my journey to become a better programmer, many people helped me."

Here, 'on' is slightly off.

On the other hand, if 'journey' refers to an actual, physical journey, at least in the singular 'on' will be the better choice, as it (loosely) describes an event, even if that event may stretch over a longer period of time.

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