For example, speaking about Elvis should I say "the greatest of the world"? "The greatest in the world" or "The greatest on the world?"

Does it depend on the context? As it seems you could say "the greatest on the internet".

Can it also depend on the meaning I want to give to the sentence?

1 Answer 1


The greatest (e.g., singer(s)) in {the world, the United States, the universe, the village, Toronto} ...
The greatest (e.g., singer(s)) on {television, the internet, radio, tour, the planet, Earth} ...
The greatest (e.g., singer(s)) of {these, them all, the Americans, America, the bunch} ...

The greatest singer in the United States implies she is living there (even if born elsewhere and/or out of country on a tour), while the greatest singer of the United States (not as common a saying) suggests that she was born there but now lives elsewhere or that she was the greatest singer in the U.S. until she was surpassed or died. It is more common to use "The greatest singer the U.S. produced {is, (until 2000) was} ...

  • Great answer, I'd only add that you could also say "Elvis is/was the world's greatest singer." It's equivalent to "Elvis is/was the greatest singer in the world".
    – RuslanD
    Apr 29, 2020 at 6:14
  • Additionally, "of" can be used for a time period, e.g. "Elvis was the greatest singer of the 20th century"
    – Flater
    Apr 29, 2020 at 10:26
  • Also, I disagree that "in" implies living in that location - it means you're singing there. An artist who lives abroad but performs in the US can still be "the greatest singer in the US".
    – Flater
    Apr 29, 2020 at 10:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .