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While reading the definitions of "in" and "on", something puzzled me.

About "in"

One dictionary says this "forming a part of something" and gives examples about it:

He used to be the lead singer in a rock band.

He sings in the church choir.


About "on"

Another dictionary say this "if someone is on a team, committee, etc., they are a member of it" and gives examples:

There are only three directors on the board.

I’m glad to have a player like you on our team.

I think "in" and "on" convey the pretty much the same meaning in both situations. How can I choose the right preposition here? Does it depend on the noun following the preposition? I mean when you are using "team" you should use "on" but when using band, you should use "in"

For example, what is the correct preposition in the examples below?

We have 20 members in/on our book club.

We have new faces in/on our clan. (I used the clan as "a group of people who share an interest or goal")

  • Yes, it depends on the noun that follows. on a committee, on a panel but in a discussion group, in a club, in our clan. There may be some underlying rule but I think it is so nebulous that it is better to learn the right proposition for each word individually. – user96060 Jun 11 at 2:26
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You can find both the instances where on/in is used. And yes, both can be used. Nevertheless, in my humble opinion, the preposition 'on' is more preferred when the platform is online.

I have 399 registered people on my FB page.

But, ...

I have 23 students in my group or circle.

So, if the book club is online, I'd prefer using 'on.'

Again, both are okay and can be used but when it's on the Internet or digital devices, 'on' is what I may prefer.

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