Sit in or on the front rows in the cinema

Kadjar

Senior Member
Turkish
Hello,

Referring to the cinema, which preposition would be correct to use?

Would you like to sit in the front rows?
Would you like to sit on the front rows?
 
  • Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    This could be an AmE/BrE difference, but I think you can sit in the front row or sit on the front row.

    My only issue with your sentences is the word 'rows'? Why is it plural? Are you talking to a group of thirty people who are going to occupy the front two rows? If that's not the case, it should be 'row'.

    Here are some examples of sit on the front row:

    seated on the front row | English examples in context | Ludwig

    The reason the Queen didn’t sit on the front row at Prince Philip's funeral

    NB The expression in rows has a different meaning. It doesn't have to involve rows of seats. For example, "The children were told to sit in rows, cross-legged on the floor.'
     
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    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    It would not have occurred to me to use "on".
    I agree that 'in' seems most natural if you're choosing seats in a fairly empty cinema. But does 'sitting on the front row' actually sound wrong to you? It doesn't to me. I wonder if there's a slight difference.

    I found a number of examples of 'on the front row', and it mainly seems to be where people have been allocated (favourable) seats, are already in position and are being viewed by others. Interestingly, most of the examples seemed to refer to attendees of fashion shows.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'd use "in". I'll have to listen carefully to my daughter-in-law to see if this a Lancastrian foible. :)

    Don't hold your breath waiting for the outcome.
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/boring-conferences
    Stock Photo - A young woman is sitting on the front row in a movie theater and is using her phone
    Guest Post: 10 Reasons Not to Sit On The Front Row | #AskPortia
    President Spencer W. Kimball
    Sitting on the Front Row: Amazon.co.uk: Elerbe Jr., Dr. John E., Cheney, Mrs. Judith L, Burnham, Rev. Patricia T., Elerbe, Dr. Acquanetta G.: 9781481166560: Books


    I've found plenty of examples of sit on the front row from UK sources (they can't all be from Lancashire, surely?) but only a handful from the US.

    For some reason, most of the BrE examples of sit on the front row seem to be about fashion shows, while most of the American ones are about churches.

    A question for AmE speakers, then. Do the examples above strike you as wrong?
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm pretty sure I use "in". But "on the front row in a movie theater" (quoted in post 11) sounds decidedly less odd than "in the front row in a movie theater".
     

    S1m0n

    Senior Member
    English
    This speaker of CanE finds any use of 'on' in relation to 'row' odd. The only only time I could conceive of sitting on a row would be something like someone trampling a garden and squashing a row of peas.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Is there not a difference between sitting on and sitting in chairs arranged in a row?
    Well, there's a difference between sitting on a chair and sitting in a chair: it depends on the type of chair. (See sit in on chair.)

    But this thread is about sitting on a row or sitting in a row, isn't it? And your best bet there would be to say "in". Even though some people prefer "on", I don't think anyone would disagree with "in".
     
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