In the game "Fallout Shelter" there is a description of one of ingame items that caught my eye. It's about a weapon ("Armor piercing sniper rifle"), and "Vertibird" is a type of combat aircraft:

Kill the soldier, and the Vertibird he flies in on.

This "in on" is giving me trouble here. In obviously describes relationship between the soldier and the aircraft. On feels like description of soldier's action, but I can't really understand what action it might be.

What is the meaning of "on" here? What rules govern such constructs?

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    The soldier flies in; that is, he flies into the combat area or point of deplanement. He makes this flight on a Vertibird. That is the Vertibird on which he flies in, or the Vertibird he flies in on. Jul 6, 2015 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


In this case in functions as an adverb and describes where the soldier flies: in to the field of battle.

On refers to the relationship between the soldier and the aircraft.

In English, there is no hard and fast rule that governs whether in or on is used with vehicles.

You can be on (or less commonly in) a train/plane/boat/ship, but only in a car. Well, you can be on a car, but that would mean you were on top of the car.

The entire description is also a reference to the phrase ...and the horse you rode in on.

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