in the mainland/on the mainland

EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
I want to say that there are lots of job opportunities in China, and use "the mainland" to refer to China. The sentence that I have in mind is:

Job opportunities in/on the mainland are abundant.

I am not sure if I should use "in" or "on" in the above sentence. "In" sounds okay because we can "in a country", but "on" also sounds correct because we say "on a piece of land". So, should I say "in the mainland" or "on the mainland"?

Thanks much!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    "On the mainland" sounds more idiomatic, Edison Bhola. I've never heard nor read "in the mainland" in any fluent text or speech I can recall. I can't think of any reason to use it.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I agree, use on here. However, if you were to use "Mainland China" to describe the country (to make it clear that you do not include Taiwan), then it would be in.
     

    loghrat

    Senior Member
    British English / Danish
    I agree with owlman5 that we say 'on the mainland'. However, in the context of China, I feel the way it would normally be expressed in English is 'in mainland China jobs are abundant' (note absence of definite article 'the').
     
    Last edited:

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    So in my sentence, it should be either one of the following?

    Job opportunities in mainland China are abundant.
    Job opportunities on the mainland are abundant.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I don't see any reason why you should capitalize "Mainland", Edison Bhola. Your original question is beginning to wander a bit.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    Thanks owlman.

    On a very similar note, if I want to say "I work in China", and instead of that I say "I work ON the mainland", does it sound natural to native speakers?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    On a very similar note, if I want to say "I work in China", and instead of that I say "I work ON the mainland", does it sound natural to native speakers?
    Context is important. If you live on an island that is not part of China but close enough to China that you might work in China and China is the only country not on an island which is nearby your island so that the residents refer to China as "the mainland", then, yes, it sounds natural. ;)
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    So, to sum up this thread, is it fair to say there are no circumstances that would make "in the mainland" be correct?
     

    loghrat

    Senior Member
    British English / Danish
    Yes, that is correct, 'in the mainland' is not correct. At least I can't think of a context where it would sound right.
     

    Hogwaump

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Yes, that is correct, 'in the mainland' is not correct. At least I can't think of a context where it would sound right.
    When "mainland" is being used as a locational adjective: In the mainland peoples, eating raw coconut is not common.
    In this case, the "in" is referring "peoples" rather than "mainland." If "mainland" is the actual subject, I cannot think of an instance where "in" would sound natural.
     

    heshayershah

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I agree with owlman5 that we say 'on the mainland'. However, in the context of China, I feel the way it would normally be expressed in English is 'in mainland China jobs are abundant' (note absence of definite article 'the').
    I came across the following sentence in New Headway, an English studying book:

    "Zanzibar (an island just off the Tanzanian coast of East Africa - heshayershah) lacks the abundance of wildlife that is found on mainland Africa."

    It is said in the extract above that "in mainland China" is correct. However, I have "on mainland Africa" in the sentence above. I don't know which one is correct. I feel quite confused now.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    I came across the following sentence in New Headway, an English studying book:

    "Zanzibar (an island just off the Tanzanian coast of East Africa - heshayershah) lacks the abundance of wildlife that is found on mainland Africa."

    It is said in the extract above that "in mainland China" is correct. However, I have "on mainland Africa" in the sentence above. I don't know which one is correct. I feel quite confused now.
    That looks wrong to me. I would use 'in mainland Africa' in that context.
     
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