Komatsu put his spoon back in/on his saucer.

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Couch Tomato

Senior Member
Russian & Dutch
Komatsu put his spoon back in his saucer.
(Murakami, Haruki. 1Q84. Trans. Jay Rubin & Philip Gabriel.)

Wouldn't on work just as well as in? I actually think that on is a more logical choice because a saucer is kind of like a flat surface. So I would put a spoon on my saucer and in my cup. Likewise, I put a book on the table and not in it. Does this seem logical?
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'd say "on his saucer" if it was a very flat saucer. "In the saucer" sounds fine to me. I can pour some milk in a saucer too, for the cat to drink. It depends whether you see the saucer as a small shallow bowl or as a little flat plate. I have some of both types.


    American English
    I agree with velisarius. It's a bit relative, depending on the exact shape/size.

    What I might use is "onto". Komatsu put his spoon back onto his saucer.

    It alleviates some of the ambiguity.
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