I had to walk IN / ON / OVER frozen ruts in the snow.

In my opinion it should be ON as I had to walk on a surface. However I came across 2 instances on the web where either it is IN or OVER. May I know which is right and why is it so?

  • 1
    They're all much of a muchness - none of the above suggestions appear in Google Books as walk XXX frozen ruts, but they're all "acceptable", and would be understood to mean the same thing. On the other hand, I did come across I had to walk across the frozen ruts three times before he would believe that what looked like mud really wasn't - which seems at least as good, if not better. Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 17:55
  • @FumbleFingers: in macmillandictionary I see the above sentence as I mentioned.
    – Gt_R
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 18:10
  • As I said, they're all acceptable. This isn't a matter of "right" or "wrong". Also note that since there isn't a specific term distinguishing the raised portions of such a frozen track from the indented ones to either side, in practice, ruts would be taken to refer to either/both in your context. Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 18:19
  • @FumbleFingers To me, "walk over frozen ruts" does not have the same meaning as the other two and while in/on would have similar meaning I think that for most situations I would prefer one over the other.
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 20:26
  • @Sam: The way I see it, if you're walking, and the path consists of frozen ruts, semantically it makes no difference what preposition you use. It's not like there are multiple different ways you could move over such a surface, each made explicit by your choice of preposition. Stylistically, I could get behind through though, since it would metaphorically imply the "impediment to progress". Commented Apr 9, 2016 at 1:42

1 Answer 1


Definition of rut is:

a deep narrow mark in the ground made by a wheel

So, if you walk inside the rut, then you use in, like I had to walk in frozen ruts in the snow.

If you jump over a rut, then you use over.

For using on, it should generally be a raised surface, like a bridge.

  • 1
    One might also "walk on a bridge over the water"
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 8, 2016 at 20:27

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