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Is there a difference in meaning between hit somene's leg, hit someone on the leg and hit someone in the leg? For example:

When I was a child, my dad accidentally hit my leg with a bat.

When I was a child, my dad accidentally hit me on the leg with a bat.

When I was a child, my dad accidentally hit me in the leg with a bat.

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For legs (and arms) the first two are correct and in the leg would be wrong. For bellies "hit me in the belly" would be more normal, because the bat would be likely to go into the belly, at least a short distance before rebounding.

In general "on" refers to the surface and "in" to the inside.

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  • Thank for the answer! How about the face? "Dad accidentally hit me in the face" or "on the face"? Jul 2, 2020 at 13:04
  • It is more likely to be "in the face" because it is mostly soft. "On the forehead" because it is hard. "A pat on the cheek" is correct because it doesn't go far in. The two words "in" and "on" often sound similar in spoken English and both are sometimes used when the other might be more accurate.
    – Peter
    Jul 2, 2020 at 13:43
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No, there is no difference in meaning. We usually refer to a blow on a part of the body and a wound in it, but there isn't a hard and fast rule.

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