There are a lot of gaps in floors like this on construction sites:

enter image description here

And there is a good chance that a worker might trip ...?

I don't know what preposition I should fill in the dotted line.

We often say "trip over/ on sth" and something here is not a hole or looks like a hole or gap.

For example, Someone will trip over that cable.

Is it correct to say "the worker tripped over the gap" or "the worker tripped on the gap" or "the worker tripped in the gap"?

  • 1
    Normally, you trip when your foot hits something you weren't expecting, so losing your footing because of an actual void underfoot is inherently awkward to express (as I'm sure OP knows perfectly well, since he specializes in finding these awkward contexts). At least a couple of writers have resorted to tripped on the edge of the hole, for lack of any more suitable phrasing. But there a half a dozen instances of tripped on a hole, and more for ...over... Commented Jan 12 at 18:49
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    Or 'caught his foot in the gap'. Commented Jan 12 at 19:11
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    Or "He stumbled when the toe of his shoe got snagged in a gap in the flooring." (got caught, got snagged : American English).
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 12 at 22:27
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    @Mari-LouA When there are many ways of saying something, it seems better to suggest one of them as a comment than to present it as answer.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 12 at 22:32
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    @KateBunting why not? It's a very good suggestion and there are four upvotes agreeing with it, including mine. What's the worst that could happen?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 13 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


We usually speak of 'tripping over' something that projects out of the ground, though it isn't obviously wrong to speak of tripping over a hole. I would suggest He caught his foot in the gap as a more idiomatic alternative.

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