Based on/in truth

Eugens

Senior Member
Argentina Spanish
Hi!

Is it the same to say "based in truth" and "based on truth"? Are both correct?

Thank you!
 
  • jimreilly

    Senior Member
    American English
    Eugens said:
    Hi!

    Is it the same to say "based in truth" and "based on truth"? Are both correct?

    Thank you!

    Hi Eugens:

    If you use one, it would be "based on"

    But you are more likely to hear "based on true events", "based on something that really happened", etc. Perhaps if you gave us a little more context that would help---I could be misunderstanding exactly what you want to say
     

    Eugens

    Senior Member
    Argentina Spanish
    Hi, jimreilly, and thank you.

    I had thought that the only way to say it was "based on truth," but today I've seen that a forero wrote "based in truth" and now I'm wondering what differences in meaning there are between the two.

    Here is the complete sentence:
    "On the other hand, stereotypes are based in truth."
     

    jimreilly

    Senior Member
    American English
    Hi, Eugens--

    Yes, the two forms mean the same. but I think "based on" is more common. Examples:

    The foundation is based on bedrock.

    His logic is based on sound rules.

    The Supreme Court ruling is based on the constitution.

    etc.

    And, I might add, "Stereotypes are often not based on truth, but on bigotry and lazy thinking"! This is my general opinion, and I do not know what stereotypes were being discussed!
     

    Eugens

    Senior Member
    Argentina Spanish
    Thank you!

    So I can say these sentences:
    The foundation is based in bedrock.
    His logic is based in sound rules.
    The Supreme Court ruling is based in the constitution.

    and they mean exactly the same as their versions with "on", don't they? (I know you have already said that they do, but I like the feeling of reassurance:p )
     

    jimreilly

    Senior Member
    American English
    You could get away with the last two, but I think that a foundation is based ON bedrock, and I would prefer "on" in all the examples, because the basic (implied) metaphor is one of structure (physical structure, not sentence structure!).
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I would never use based in, unless I wanted to say that someone, or some organisation, was based in a location. In the current context, always based on. Same reason as jimreilly's, I think.

    The OED allows for based on, but not based in.
    To place on or upon a foundation or logical basis; to found, establish securely, secure
    But if I wanted to undermine an argument, I would say that it has no basis in truth, logic, or whatever. Isn't that odd? It could be the source of some confusion.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    panjandrum said:
    But if I wanted to undermine an argument, I would say that it has no basis in truth, logic, or whatever. Isn't that odd? It could be the source of some confusion.

    But doesn't that parallel the intended message in "Stereotypes are based in truth"? At least that's the way I understood it.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A good question (of course). Thinking ...

    Based in, in this context, sounds really strange to me. I hunted for examples and references that might contradict my feeling of strangeness - but I didn't find any. Hence my response above.

    Reflecting more deeply on the specific example... which seems to carry less sense of strangeness than the general. A Google check suggests a 2:1 preference for based on over based in for this phrase. That is comforting, but far from convincing.
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    Myself, I prefer:

    Based in truth (in general)
    Based on the truth (specific particular truth[s])

    I also would also say:

    Based in fact (in general)
    Based on facts (these specific facts)
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    The Chicago Manual of Style suggests based; on [a premise]; in [a place; a field of study] Notice a similar problem with "founded in" and "founded on."
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Other verbs that pose these same problems are "ground" and "establish." "Grounded in" is as common as "based on," and to me it gives a clue to the subtle difference you're going for when you say "based in." Nyc's parsing of basing something on particular facts and basing it in a general principle works pretty well for me too-- if you're yousing "based in facts" correctly, it ought to make sense to say "based in factuality." The first is stylistically better, but if you make the mental substitution you can test your choice of sords for logical consistency.

    Here's an example that reverses the principle of "in a place" and "on a premise"-- so the rules are anything but hard and fast.

    "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

    Yes, the verbs are not the same, but I think the writer's ear was responding to the same principle, varying it for rhetorical reasons-- to create a subtle novel effect for people who were pretty numbed by hours of oratory by the time he spoke. Speaking of ears, note the progression from on to in to to in this passage. The devil's in the details.
    .
     
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