Which prepositions do we have to choose after the verb "cheat"?

  • cheat in exams
  • cheat at exams
  • cheat in tests
  • cheat at tests
  • cheat in cards
  • cheat at cards

    Which ones are correct in British English?

  • 1
    In AmE, we'd use "on" for exams or tests... I think Brits are different... which type of English are you interested in?
    – Catija
    Apr 4 '16 at 20:28
  • We Brits use "cheat on" to mean being unfaithful to your partner. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/cheat-on-sb
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 4 '16 at 20:46
  • I am interested in British English.
    – Helen
    Apr 4 '16 at 20:49
  • @JavaL - AmE uses cheat on when talking about infidelity, too; however, you can cheat on a test, or cheat on your wife (though I'd only parse the latter as a phrasal verb).
    – J.R.
    Apr 5 '16 at 21:18

British English

As a vague, general rule, we cheat at activities that don't have a distinct beginning and end. So we can:

  • cheat at cards
  • cheat at football

However, if the activity has a specific beginning and end then we can cheat in it:

  • cheat in the exam
  • cheat in the semi-final

The preposition one uses varies

Cheat on someone ( someone is the person being cheated )
Cheat with someone ( someone is the accomplice )

Cheat on an exam
Cheat on a test
Cheat in an exam ( also acceptable )
Cheat in a test

Cheat at cards ( usually used for games )
Cheat at checkers

Cheat in a race ( to show when )
Cheat before starting
Cheat after the fact

it just depends on what you want to say.

  • 1
    Double checking... "on" is acceptable in British English when referring to tests/exams?
    – Catija
    Apr 5 '16 at 15:00

to cheat on somebody

(be unfaithful to)

to cheat somebody at cards


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