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Lately, I have been trying to figure out the difference between these two phrasal verbs when used with commercials

To put something IN a commercial

To put something ON a commercial

And I still have not grasped the difference between IN and ON when used with put in these situations

Could you point out the difference?

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This question would be greatly helped by actual examples. It is difficult to come up with a realistic scenario where "put on a commercial" would arise.

They put his endorsement in the commercial

simply means

They added his endorsement to the content of the commercial.

Nor is "put his endorsement in a commercial" include the phrasal verb "put in." The verb is simply "put."

There is a phrasal verb of "put on" that means to "present," particularly in the context of presenting a play on stage.

They put on "Much Ado About Nothing"

means

They presented the play called "Much Ado About Nothing."

I have never seen that usage with reference to a commercial, but I suppose it's remotely possible.

Of course, "put" is also a stand-alone verb that can take various prepositions, including "on."

They put the commercial on television

does not involve a phrasal verb and means

They displayed the commercial using the medium of television.

  • In addition to to put on = to present, there's also He's just putting you on (=teasing). But I don't know if there are any native speakers who reduce upon to just on in the context of I don't want to put upon you (=to impose, be a burden). Whatever - to my mind, these are "real" phrasal verbs, whereas OP's cited usages aren't. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 11 '19 at 14:59
  • Yes. I missed that one. It is not that common in the U.S., but it is far from rare. – Jeff Morrow Oct 11 '19 at 17:17

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