On subway / in subway


New Member
I get confused the preposition "in" and "on" in association with subway. Can I say " Many people commute on subway" or "I came across my uncle in subway"

What is a phrase a native speaker use to describe people "riding the train" ?

Your response would be highly appreciated. Thanks.
  • Both of your sentences are fine except you need to add the word "the" before subway. I know it sounds odd but whether you say "in" or "on the subway", people understand them both as riding inside the cars.

    " Many people commute on the subway" or "I came across my uncle in the subway"

    If you wanted to say someone was riding on the roof of the subway, you would say "on top of the subway".
    I do ride the subway every day! And I would say
    I commute by subway.
    (No the needed.)

    Though I have no uncles, I would say:

    I came across my uncle on the subway.

    This might be a New Yorkism, since we also wait on line rather than in line.
    "In" might refer to in the physical subway construction - I met him in one of the tunnels

    "On" would definitely refer to one of the train carriages, I would say.
    As a long time subway rider, I would say:

    I take the subway/metro to work every day .
    I ride on the subway/metro.
    I ran into my uncle on the subway/metro.

    I can't think of any context in which I would say in the subway, though it doesn't sound wrong to me in the last example.