which of the following sentence is correct and why?

1.The principal started his lecture with a pessimistic note.

2.The principal started his lecture on a pessimistic note

  • 1
    They're both "valid", but idiomatically we usually use on in this exact context. Note that the actual syntax of #2 could in principle reflect the fact that the subject of the lecture was "a pessimistic note" - but without convincing context supporting that somewhat perverse interpretation, we can reasonably rule it out. Just as we can ignore the possibility that the with version means he introduced some contextually relevant "pessimistic note" before launching into the substance of his lecture. Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 13:39

1 Answer 1


Both are fine but "with a note" usage is more according to this.


  • This doesn’t hold when there is an adjective before the word “note”.
    – Mixolydian
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 17:21
  • @Mixolydian explaination?
    – Krish
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 17:46
  • Not sure I have a good explanation but I’ll try- saying “on a note” (no adj) doesn’t mean anything in most contexts. You must include an adjective because you’re describing a mood- “on a sad note”, “on a happy note”, “on a happier note” are common expressions that are used to show that something has a certain mood (“happy”, “sad”, “pessimistic”, etc.). “On that note” is a related phrase and requires no adjective but “that note” refers to the mood of what was said previously. See also english.stackexchange.com/questions/44506/…
    – Mixolydian
    Commented Mar 24, 2019 at 18:02

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