in the bookshelf

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Henryk, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. Henryk Senior Member

    Germany, German
    Hello all,

    I know it should be "on the bookshelf" (it's quite logical) but I was wondering why there are so many hits for "in" at Google. There are among others many statements by native speakers of English.

    Is it rather regional or plain wrong?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. maxiogee Banned


    How many hits are there?
    What sentences are they in?
    Might they be like.....
    "There are no nails or screws in the bookshelf, it is all held together with properly formed joints"
    "The bullet lodged in the bookshelf."​
  3. Henryk Senior Member

    Germany, German

  4. RobertofPoole Junior Member

    UK . English
    I can't give you any evidence for this , but the quotes sound to me like AE . I speak BE and these quotes don't sound right to my BE ears . I would expect "on" .
  5. winklepicker

    winklepicker Senior Member

    English (UK)
    I think I have a copy of Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in my bookshelf somewhere.

    It sounds quite natural to me.
  6. ps.sur.mer Junior Member

    United States, English
    I think I would find a book "in a bookshelf" but place a book "on a bookshelf."
  7. Orange Blossom Senior Member

    U.S.A. English
    I would put things on a bookshelf but in a bookcase.

    Orange Blossom
  8. maxiogee Banned

    I think these are what I would term 'mental abbreviations' - what the speaker is saying is a curtailed version of what they are thinking.

    I think that this one is quite natural - the speaker is referring to each item in the (series of items which make up a partricular) bookshelf. Bookshelf here is a metonym for totality of books themselves.

    I think in these two the speaking speaker is thinking ".... in among the contents of the bookshelf"
  9. Henryk Senior Member

    Germany, German
    That's clear.

    So "in" works or not?

    Can anybody confirm this? It'd make the matter quite easy to understand. :)

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