''in the list'' or ''on the list''

Discussion in 'English Only' started by talivan, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. talivan Junior Member

    Spain spanish
    how do you say some one is written down on or in a list??
    or SOMEONE is in/or a waiting list.


    thanks in advance
     
  2. winklepicker

    winklepicker Senior Member

    Kent
    English (UK)
     
  3. Suehil

    Suehil Medemod

    Tillou, France
    British English
    I would have said 'someone is on a list'
     
  4. Hese Senior Member

    German
    Excellent question. At university, we were told we should absolutely use on the list, but as time goes by, I come across more and more texts on the internet where 'in' is used. I'd rather use 'on the list', just to be on the safe side.
     
  5. screzic New Member

    Dekalb
    English- American, Spanish- American
    I am 100% sure the answer is ON. Peeps that use IN are victims of rap abuse.
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    What are peeps?
    What is rap abuse?
    Please try to write using language that can be readily understood.

    Generally speaking, people on a waiting list are on the list :)
    But there is nothing whatever wrong, or uncommon, about saying "in the list".

    I don't know what determines which is most appropriate, but certainly when I look at examples there are many where in the list seems a better choice - marginally.
     
  7. screzic New Member

    Dekalb
    English- American, Spanish- American
    Sorry about saying peeps. I was trying to make a point with the whole rap thing.

    You are RIGHT, IN the list is used often. And it is very common. That does not make it correct though. It simply means that many "peeps" (people) are making mistakes. And they make mistakes because they listen to rap music... where it is acceptable to be gramatically incorrect. But I'm not "hate'n" on rap. Timberlake rocks.

    I can't think of any instances where IN would be appropriate.
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I don't see how in the list could possibly be a mistake, especially when it is used almost as often as on the list (Google) or about 50% as often (British National Corpus)
    It would be a very brave prescriptive grammarian who condemned in the list without sound justification.

    (I don't think that BBC editors are especially addicted to rap.)
     
  9. screzic New Member

    Dekalb
    English- American, Spanish- American
    HAHAHA!

    BBC editors. That was kinda funny.
    Okay, then please give me a specific example of when IN the list would be correct.

    Also: you ask me for specific evidence when you have provided none? Your google fact about the 50% thing just means that half of the world is wrong. ;)
     
  10. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Please look for yourself.
    If you think that your point about half the world is valid, it seems that you don't understand English and how it develops.

    You have put forward a suggestion that the use of in the list is a mistake, contrary to overwhelming evidence that it is in widespread use in spoken and written English of all registers.
    Yet you haven't explained why it is incorrect.
     
  11. screzic New Member

    Dekalb
    English- American, Spanish- American
    Your argument makes sense, but it seems like perhaps it supports my view as well.


    You can't explain why it IS correct, and I can't explain why it ISn't correct. And so what happens now? Do we just agree to disagree on this?
     
  12. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is no grammatical or usage reason for anyone to consider in the list incorrect.
    In the list is frequently used by reputable sources.
    As is generally the pattern in this forum in such circumstances, the conclusion is that both are correct, but minority views are respected.
     
  13. Eigenfunction Senior Member

    England - English
    A list can be regarded as a collection of items organised consecutively, in which case the items are in the list.

    A list can be regarded as a piece of paper etc. on which the items are listed, in which case, they are on the list.
     
  14. Matching Mole

    Matching Mole Senior Member

    England, English
    "In the list" is perfectly logical—in my view, more logical than "on". A list is a succession of items, like a queue. You would not say "on a queue", and "in" generally denotes inclusion or containment: "in the book", "in my letter", etc., and an item is certainly contained in a list. "On" generally refers to being in contact with the surface of something; not that there aren't numerous figurative and other uses, but still, it seems to me that if an argument needs to be made it needs to be made for the use of "on", rather than "in". However, this is immaterial, as correctness, in the English language, such as it exists, is determined by usage and "in" is used to great extent, and without comment from authorities that take account of usage.
     
  15. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Here is just one example:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 209,000 for "included in the list".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 92,400 for "included on the list".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 479 for "it is not included in the list".
    Results 1 - 10 of about 62 for "it is not included on the list".

    Here I would say usage and what is correct are in agreement.
     
  16. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm still puzzling over how to help the OP, talivan, on this.

    I think Eigenfunction's comment is illuminating:
    Could it also have something to to with the verb used? "Enter" in a list; "include" in a list. "Be" on a list? (It's certainly "be" on a waiting list, not in a waiting list.)

    This is a real toughie!
     
  17. gaer

    gaer Senior Member

    Fort Lauderdale
    US-English
    Yes, it is. :)

    I do think the verb used makes a difference, but so does the kind of list, as in your "waiting list" example.
     
  18. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Here's an example, selected at random from the tenth page of Google listings for the string "in the list"-

    "In" seems a little better in this context than "on". Why? I'm not sure. It seems that
    in the list is used here to be equivalent to in a listing/in a compilation of...
    There is certainly no point of grammar that would make me question the use of in here. Further, it sounds perfectly idiomatic in AE.

    I'm left wondering what objection anyone might offer to it.
     
  19. TonightsLastSong

    TonightsLastSong Junior Member

    USA - Kentucky
    English - US
    that's precisely the point to be made; along the same lines as Eigenfunction's comment, usage more often than not depends on how one must view the list. If it's being viewed as if the list were the only intangible idea that we are considering, then one must be "in" the list, as the list represents a compilation of items.

    The distinguishing difference in the ways to view such a list is this:
    1) we observe the list as representing the actual items being referenced (meriting an "in")
    2) the list is a piece of paper, and one needs to directly reference the list as an object, not as the things that it represents. (using "on")
     
  20. AntieAnnie Senior Member

    USA
    English - USA
    Hi, I'm just adding my two cents here.

    It seems that in the context of the original question, I would use "on the list" (here in California). If I were referring to a list of names (as in a guest list at a club or something like that), I would ask whether the bouncer could find my name "on the list."

    I would even go as far as to say that my normal preference would be to use "on" the list as opposed to "in" the list as a general rule. (Again, this is just the standpoint of someone in California). I wouldn't, however, be so confident that "in" the list is wrong. From this conversation, it sounds to me that it's more common to use "on" in the US and "in" in the UK.

    Maybe I'd use them interchangeably in the following sentence:

    In (or "on") the list of countries that I would like to visit, Poland is a low priority. (No offense meant to the Polish; I just said that to my coworker -- who happens to be Polish -- last week).
     
  21. agustina bsas Senior Member

    Argentina - Spanish
    Is "indicated on the list" OK? Or would it be better to say "indicated in the list"?

    (I'm not sure whether I should be starting a new thread or not.)
     
  22. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    The police found his name in the list of victims.
    There appeared to be an error in the list of stolen property.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2009
  23. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hello, agustina

    I'm not sure I'd say either.... Can you give us some context?:)
     
  24. pickarooney

    pickarooney Senior Member

    Provence, France
    English (Ireland)
    If I have a list of things which need to be done, or people to be called etc. I would consider all of the elements to be 'on the list' as there is a specific chronological order.

    Then again, if I was checking someone's name for entry into a club I might tell him it was not on the list.

    On the other hand, I would say that I had seen all the films in the list below:
    The Usual Suspects, Casablanca, Psycho, American Pie.
    Likewise if they were listed vertically.

    However, if I hadn't yet seen a particular film, I would say that it was on my list of films to see (regardless of its position on this theoretical list).

    I can't come up with a rule, but there is definitely some, perhaps arbitrary, distinction between on and in for lists, in my view.

    As for 'indicated in/on the list', I think 'indicated' is most likely superfluous, but would need a little more context to say for certain.
     
  25. agustina bsas Senior Member

    Argentina - Spanish
    Context: "The insured sum is indicated IN/ON the list of coverage and benefits"
     
  26. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    In that context, I'd use "in".
     
  27. agustina bsas Senior Member

    Argentina - Spanish
    Thanks to both!
     
  28. Gatuna Senior Member

    Español (México)
    Hello!

    Could someone please point me to a link where I can find the grammar rules to get a criterion on this?

    When talking about physical places it may be somewhat easier, but I just haven't figured out the criteria behind things like:

    << Additional examples are off topic. This thread is about in/on lists. >>


    - The insured sum is indicated IN the list.
    - ...whether the bouncer could find my name "on the list."


    Does it have to do with specific and non-specific places/situations?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 29, 2014
  29. holymoog New Member

    British English
    I've just looked on here because I wanted to say that something was in/on a list. I've gone with 'on' but really the significant thing I wanted to express is that something was a) included, plus also draw attention to b) the placement of it. Therefore, 'in' seems the more poetic choice. Neither the inclusion nor the placement of the object or it's relationship to the list were mentioned, only alluded to. Interesting grammar this.
     
  30. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Welcome to the forum, Holymoog.

    Can you give us more specific context?
     
  31. holymoog New Member

    British English
    Is there a need for context here?
     
  32. holymoog New Member

    British English
    we live in a world where things are on lists in English
     
  33. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    If we are compiling a list and adding items succesively as we think of them (wedding guests, for example), we often speak of 'putting them on the list'.
    If we start with a full collection of items and want to list them we might well speak of 'putting them in a list'.
     
  34. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    Yes.

    For example, if the list is a one-page schedule of things to be done, things are more likely to be "on" it, but if the list is a large volume meant to include all of something, things are more likely to be "in" it.

    There are in fact hundreds of contexts I can imagine for "in" the list and hundred of contexts I can imagine for "on" the list. Some contexts work well with either; some don't.

    I am at a loss as to what you mean by "poetic" choice. Figurative? Mellifluous? How were the unmentioned things alluded to?

    American and British usage may be different here, but I believe context matters on either side of the Atlantic.
     
  35. holymoog New Member

    British English
    Is hierarchy relevant?
     
  36. Cagey post mod

    California
    English - US
    As people have said, we need more information. Relevant information would be a description of the sort of things you want to list and the purpose of the list.

    As you can see in previous discussion, details like this can affect the answer.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  37. flamboyant lad

    flamboyant lad Senior Member

    India
    Hindi
    http://www.learnersdictionary.com/qa/is-it-correct-to-say-on-the-list-or-in-the-list
    Is that advice correct?

    << Source: A question asked on MiriamWebster Learning Dictionary "Ask the editor"
    Is it correct to say "on the list" or "in the list"? >>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2015
  38. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Yes, it's correct. But I hope you realize that it's very difficult to give you a nice, firm rule - English prepositions are so quirky and tricky. This seems like a pretty good guideline, though. :)
     
  39. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    I disagree. The writer of that web page, when illustrating 'in the list', only offers phrases with some form of the verb 'include'.
    Then, on that basis, he makes a rule which agrees with his own examples. So it is no surprise that the rule works for those examples.

    'Include' is a word which calls for the preposition 'in'. That is a consequence of the meaning of 'include'. It is not a result of using the word 'list'.
    It does show us the right way to proceed, though, and that is simply to think about the meaning. Each preposition has its own meaning.
    Where the meaning calls for 'in', write 'in'. Where the meaning calls for 'on', write 'on'. Where the meaning calls for 'to', write 'to'.

    Suppose someone asks whether a list includes his or her name. We could say, for example,
    'Are you on the list? Let me see. No, I am afraid your name does not appear anywhere in this list. I can add you to the list, though, if you wish.'


     
  40. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    This is advice. Advice is good advice or bad advice. It is not correct/incorrect.
    In this instance, the advice is good.
    In general, "on the list" will be good natural English.
    In general, "include in the list" will be good natural English.
    This is not a rule. It is advice. It is good advice.
     
  41. flamboyant lad

    flamboyant lad Senior Member

    India
    Hindi
    Thanks for your good advice.
     
  42. flamboyant lad

    flamboyant lad Senior Member

    India
    Hindi
  43. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Panjandrum isn't giving you a lesson in vocabulary. He's giving you a helpful way to look at advice. There are things that are correct that are nonetheless not good ideas. If someone advised you to do them anyway, that would be bad advice.
     
  44. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    That is just a Google search on the words 'correct adivice' - and it does not even use quotation marks (it is not an exact phrase search).
    I am afraid it does not prove anything relevant to this question.

    Whatever you do, please do not go away with the idea that the phrase 'in the list' is only used with the word 'include'.
    It is used with many other verbs. It depends on the meaning and the context. Here are a few examples.

    I can't see my wireless network in the list
    The Orlando Consort
    Awesome Bar - Find your bookmarks, history and tabs
    Have Questions? - National Speech & Debate Association
    parametric tower in my blog!
     
  45. JunJiBoy

    JunJiBoy Senior Member

    USA
    Cantonese
    He's in the names of the list, so he's in the list, sometimes you gotta think outside the box!
     
  46. wandle

    wandle Senior Member

    London
    English - British
    That is not outside the box: it is very natural.
     
  47. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)

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