I have a question regarding the use of the verb "to convict" with preposition "on".

We can use this verb with the preposition "of" plus a noun or gerund.

  • He was convicted of stabbing a stranger in a bar brawl.

  • He was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

You can look it up in almost every major online dictionary (Cambridge, Oxford, etc), however, this verb is also used with the preposition "on" but the problem is that none of those English online dictionaries mention it.

  • He was convicted on fraud charges.
  • She was convicted on trumped up charges.

If it is grammatically correct and acceptable to use this preposition with this verb, why do not they add it on their websites? Maybe it is due to AmE/BrE differences?


2 Answers 2


He was convicted of fraud

"of" is followed by the actual crime that was committed.

He was convicted on charges of fraud.
He was convicted on fraud charges.

"on" is followed by the charge(s), not the crime.

  • Are you saying it is perfectly okay to use the preposition "on" with the verb "to convict" when we are talking about accusing someone with a crime?
    – Beqa
    Commented Apr 28 at 14:53
  • 1
    To clarify, what one is convicted of is the crime that one allegedly committed, whereas what one is convicted on is the charge that the prosecutor brought against one. In general, the charge reflects not only the crime but also things like the prosecutor’s assessment of the strength of the evidence and the case they can make, any extenuating circumstances that might call for relative leniency, etc. Commented Apr 28 at 15:47
  • 1
    @Beqa No, rather that it’s perfectly okay to use on when its object is the charges that led to the conviction, rather than the crime of which one was convicted. In this case, on can be thought of as being equivalent to based on. If the conviction does not match the charges (possible in some places, I believe), you could theoretically have both in the same sentence: “He was convicted of manslaughter [based] on murder charges” = he was charged with first-degree murder at trial, but the conviction was for the lesser crime of manslaughter. I wouldn’t advise doing this in practice, though. Commented Apr 29 at 1:08
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Understood, however, I find it strange why this is not included in those dictionaries. By the way, I also found the verb "to indict" with the preposition "on" in the same context. He was indicted on fraud charges or she was indicted on corruption charges, etc.
    – Beqa
    Commented Apr 29 at 12:54
  • @Beqa Because convinct on is not a unit the same way that convict of is. Using on in this way, to mean ‘with X as the basis/deciding factor’, works in a number of different contexts (you can be arrested on suspicion of murder, released on bail, acquitted on a technicality, employed on good looks alone, etc.); it’s one of the many basic meanings of the preposition on (see sense 17 on Wiktionary for example). You can also be convicted by someone at (or without) trial, etc. – dictionaries can’t list them all. Commented Apr 29 at 14:58

People are convicted of crimes, and they are convicted on charges. So, both of the following are incorrect:

*The man was convicted on fraud.

* The man was convicted of charges of fraud.

The "convicted on charges" phrasing is very common in American journalism. I am not sure about the UK. Merriam-Webster, the principal US dictionary, does not explicitly say what preposition is used, but it shows examples of both forms.

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