it has a red leaf in/on it// in/on the test paper

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brian&me

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Hi, everyone.

The following is from an English textbook for primary schools in China published by Hebei Education Press and DC Canada Education Publishing.
112557745140615175.jpg


I wonder if the second sentence should be it has a red leaf in it.

Thanks.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A flat object doesn't have an "inside", so there can be nothing "in it".

    The leaf is on the surface, just as print is on the surface of a page. There's a picture on the page. There's a flag in the picture. There's a leaf on the flag.

    Notice that "in the picture/photo" is the correct phrase - I guess that's because it's a representation of a 3-dimensional scene.

    (Edited typo)
     
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    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks, velisarius.
    I wonder if I should say answer the questions on or in the test paper which is only one piece of paper.

    Thanks again.
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks, teddy.
    I wonder if you mean that I should say answer the questions in the test paper.
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks, teddy.
    I wonder if you mean that I could say both answer the questions on the test paper and answer the questions in the test paper. It depends on my ideas of the test.
     
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    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks, panjandrum.

    I've read the thread you recommended to me and I've learned a lot.

    And would you please be kind enough to tell me if both answer the questions on the test paper and answer the questions in the test paper are correct.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    THIS LINK will show you the relative frequency of the phrases.
    It doesn't really answer your question though.
    The trouble is, I don't think I would use either of the expressions you are asking about.
    I might talk about "the test questions", or "the questions in the test", but I don't have any experience of talking about "questions in/on the test paper".
    If you forced me to an answer, I would go for "questions on the test paper", but I'm not at all happy about that.
     
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