Do you say in or on the photo/postcard/picture/etc.?

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Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
Do you say in or on the photo/postcard/picture/etc.?

If both are in use, is there any difference between them, please?


Thanks in advance,
Thomas
 
  • Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    If you are talking about the subject of the picture, use in (the boy in the picture is smiling.)

    If you are talking about the picture as a piece of paper/canvas/etc., use on (spilling water on the picture will ruin it.)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I agree with the grapefruit:) - and the boy in the photograph is walking on the sand. It seems simply wrong to talk about a person, or an object, on the photograph.

    It would be different talking about a postcard, because the picture/photograph is, itself, on the postcard. So if the photograph of the boy on the beach was printed as a postcard - or a greeting card of any kind - then he would be the boy on the card.

    Or to make life even more complicated, he would be the boy in the photograph on the card:D

    If that image had been painted on canvas (or on a wall), the boy would be in the picture and on the canvas (on the wall).
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I agree: in the photo, in the picture, on the postcard.

    I think it's because we consider the photo an indivisible entity, whereas the postcard consists of a card with a picture superimposed on it.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    panjandrum said:
    It would be different talking about a postcard, because the picture/photograph is, itself, on the postcard. So if the photograph of the boy on the beach was printed as a postcard - or a greeting card of any kind - then he would be the boy on the card.

    Or to make life even more complicated, he would be the boy in the photograph on the card:D

    If that image had been painted on canvas (or on a wall), the boy would be in the picture and on the canvas (on the wall).
    Ok, a photograph is also a kind of picture that was printed on a piece of paper so why using a boy on a photo printed on a piece of paper is wrong?:)

    And also which preposition should I use if I want to say:
    the picture on or in the computer screen
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    Thomas1 said:
    Ok, a photograph is also a kind of picture that was printed on a piece of paper so why using a boy on a photo printed on a piece of paper is wrong?:)

    And also which preposition should I use if I want to say:
    the picture on or in the computer screen
    In your first example, photo takes precedence over paper. We always speak of things in the picture/in the photo, regardless of the medium (paper, digital image, etc.)

    In your second example, I would say "on the computer screen" because it is the medium for displaying an image. Similar to the first example, you could say "the boy in the image on the computer screen."

    Elizabeth
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Generalising (at some personal risk):
    the boy is in the image and on the medium.

    The image is the photograph or the picture.
    The medium is the card, the canvas, the wall, the screen ...
     

    wolfbm1

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I received a postcard with 13 small photos of famous places in London.
    I guess I can say: "There are 13 small pictures on this postcard."

    I should not say: "There are 13 small pictures in this postcard."
     
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