–  Prepositional Phrases – On  –

[su_dropcap style=”flat”]A[/su_dropcap]n Alphabetical list of English Prepositional Phrases using the word “On”  –  If you do not see the Phrase that you are looking for, please let me know in the comments below and I will be happy to add it for you at my earliest convenience.


  • (to) Catch Up On (Something) – This is an Idiomatic Prepositional Phrasal Verb which is used to describe when one has not stayed “current” with something (information, sleep, watching one’s favorite TV show, etc.) and then needs to become current again (catch up on) with that information or activity…  “I was on vacation, and didn’t check my email for almost two weeks.  It’s going to take me at least a week to catch up on all the messages in my in-box.”

  • (to be) Dead On (one’s) Feet – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which is used to describe a person who is – though physically awake – completely or at greatly un-responsive, use-less, or appearing to be in some sort of trance.  This is usually because of extreme exhaustion, sick-ness, the effects of drugs or alcohol the night before, or just from being a freakin’ idiot…

“Well, he’s physically here, he seems to be awake, but he certainly isn’t showing an signs of life.  I don’t know if he’s sick, hung-over or in some sort of voodoo trance, but Stan is completely dead on his feet today!  If he doesn’t show any improvement after lunch, I’m sending him home.  Having a person like that at the controls of a nuclear power plant, probably isn’t a very good idea.”

(to) Follow Up On (something) – This is an idiomatic verb phrase which is used to describe when one is making contact with someone (or group) about information or a particular situation that was discussed some time before.  This is usually done to ensure that all is well, or to ensure that there is some sort of progress being made…  “Hello, I’m just calling to *follow up on* the conversation we had last week about sending me the price-list for your product line.  It’s been nearly a week, and I haven’t received anything, nor has anyone called to let me know what is happening with that.”

(to) Get On With (something) – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb with means to continue doing something that was started previously or to start something that so far has only been talked about…  “Well we’ve already gotten the preliminary steps done, we know what we need to do next.  I don’t see why we are still standing here talking about it.  Let’s *get on with it* already!”

(to) Get On (Well) With (someone) – This idiomatic phrasal verb is simply the British English version of The Common Tongue phrase “to get along with someone” and simply means:  to have a good working or social relationship and to have “friendly” feelings with that person, even if one is not exactly “friends” with that person…  “I don’t really know Boris outside of work, but we see each other in the office everyday and we have gone with groups from work before.  He seems like a good guy, and we get on well with each other.”  –  (Also Note:  the word “well” in the phrase is not necessary but it is usually said that way.)

(to) Get On With (one’s) Life – Similar to “To Get Over”, this phrase means:  To continue with one’s life after some traumatic or distressing event or period of time…  “Though I was greatly disappointed that I would not get to have a romantic and passionate love affair with Monica Bellucci, I realized that I must *get on with my life* and not spend anymore time being depressed about it.”

(to) Have A Chip On (one’s) Shoulder – Though this is an idiomatic noun phrase, it also acts as an adjectival phrase as well to describe a person who has a bad attitude, either in general or about a certain situation.  We use this phrase when the person with the bad attitude is very stubborn about it and refuses to change, usually because the person is not very mature and is embarrassed to either change, to admit that he or she might have been wrong, they refuse to “forgive and forget”, or they are choosing to “hold a grudge”…  “Bob’s got a real *chip on his shoulder*!  First he was complaining that he never gets promoted, then when he did he refuses to be happy and now he’s complaining that his new office gets to much sunlight!”  –  (See also:  “Forgive and Forget” and “Hold a Grudge”)

(to) Have Too Much On (one’s) Plate – This is a “stative” phrasal verb which is describing a situation (usually with work) wherein, a person has too much work to deal with in that person’s present capacity.  This can also be used to talk about when a person is going through a difficult emotional time and because of it, he or she is finding it difficult to function in his or her normal capacity…  “With the staff cut-backs that the company has, I just have way *too much on my plate*.”  –  “With his wife divorcing him right after his mother and only child died in a car crash, he has way *too much on his plate*.”

(to) Move On – This is a phrasal verb which means to move forward or to continue, but it is used idiomatically to mean:  to leave some (usually) painful or distressing situation in the past, and to not let it continue to have a negative effect…  “finding out that his girlfriend was a psychopath was very difficult for him, but at some point he realized that he had to *move on*.  He couldn’t let her craziness keep him from becoming the super-hero he knew he was inside.”

(to be/do something) On (someone’s) Dime – This is an idiomatic adverbial phrase which means to be financially supported by another for a certain situation.  The word “dime” is the American 10¢ piece.  This is a phrase which would not usually be said in front of the person who is paying, but is (usually) used to express (almost in a mischievous way) that someone else (usually the company that the person works for) is paying for something (usually a business trip) so the person saying it, is expressing that he or she is willing to spend a bit more than they would if they themselves where paying…   “I have to travel quite a bit for business, but since it is *on the company’s dime* I always make sure to fly first-class, stay in the best hotels and I usually order either lobster or steak when I go out for dinner.  Oh and of course, there will be cognac afterward.”

  • (to be) On Edge – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Phrasal Adjective which is used to describe when a person is dealing with a lot of anxiety and because of this, that person is moody, excitable, and easily upset.  It is possible that the phrase comes from an excited person being “on the edge of their seat” which is another similar phrase which can be both literal and idiomatic, and describes when a person is in a very similar situation..

“The new boss has got everyone on edge because she is not only giving us a lot of extra work, but she is constantly asking us how to do her job as well!”

(to have something) On Hand – This is a prepositional adverbial phrase which is used to say that (someone) has something either in their possession or readily (conveniently) available…  “We don’t have any of the items that you are looking for *on hand* at the moment, but we can order them and they will be here in two days.”

On (one’s) Own Time – This is an idiomatic adverb phrase used to describe WHEN one will do something.  To say, “I’ll do it *on my own time* (usually) means, that that person will do (whatever it is) when they are not at school/work/etc. (when they have other obligations.)  –  (Please note that this is very different than saying “IN my own time”)

  • (to be) On Schedule – This is an Idiomatic and Adjectival Prepositional-Phrase which means to be working according to the schedule and to not be in anyway “behind” or late.  This implies that any sort of project will be finished “on time” (as scheduled and expected) and will not be late…   –  (See Also:  “On Time”)

“It took a lot of people working very hard, but finally we are back *on schedule* and we expect to finish the project by the original projected date of completion.”

On The Back Side of… – This Adverbial phrase is an adverb of placement and is used to talk about the position of something (usually a building, business, etc.)…  “The bookstore *is on the back side of* the shopping mall.”

  • (to be) On The Ball – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which is used to describe when a person is performing at a very high level of skill, efficiency and awareness – often better than expected or anticipated…

“Giuseppe is really on the ball today!  Not only did he manage to finish the project we gave him only three days ago – and do-so better than we had hoped for – but he also managed to find out what the problem was with the internal computer system, AND now he’s installing an application that will save the company over $3000 annually on the cost of IT services!”

  • (to be) On The Same Page – This Idiomatic Prepositional-Phrase is also an Adjectival Verb Phrase which is used to mean that two or more people “Comprehend Each Other” and/or “Agree” (but not necessarily both)

“I called the meeting today because I just want to make sure that we are all on the same page about what is to be expected with the new project.”

On The Contrary – This is a prepositional phrase of manner, which is used to indicate that what is said directly after it, will be in opposition or at least will be a differing opinion or information to what was spoken of previous to this statement…  “I believe that Hillary Clinton will be an excellent President.”  >  “*On the contrary*, I think you will find that if she becomes President, she will almost definitely become one of the most evil and deadly rulers that the world will ever have seen.”

On The Corner Of – This adverbial phrase is an adverb of placement and is often used to describe the location of a thing when it is right at, or very near the intersection of two roads…  “The magic wand store is right *on the corner of* ‘Witchy Way’ and ‘Sorcerer’s Street’.”

On The Other Side Of The Block – This adverbial phrase is an adverb of placement and is used to describe the location of something (usually a building, business, etc.)  A typical city block is a square shape.  So if someone is standing on the western side of the block and the shop that they are looking for is on the Eastern side of the block, then that shop is on the other side of the block.

On The Periphery – This is an adjective phrase used to describe (literally) the things which are within view, but are not being focused upon, and (figuratively) the things that need to be done, but are not so important at the moment…  “There are a lot of things that need to be done with setting up the database, but with the current project’s deadline being moved up, those things are *on the periphery*.  We will deal with them after we finish the current project.

(to be) On The Same Page – This is a phrasal adverb which we use to mean that “We Understand Each Other” and/ or “We Agree” (but not necessarily both)…  “I called the meeting today because I just want to make sure that we are all *on the same page* about what is to be expected with the new project.”

  • (to be) On The Same WaveLength With (someone) – Though this is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which comes to us from the world of radio.  Radio signals travel at difference frequencies.  The word frequency is related to the signal’s “wave-length”.  If the radio receiver is not tuned to the correct frequency it will not be able to pick up the frequency of the station and thus, you will only hear static…  So to say that two people are on the same wave-length just means that they can comprehend each other and probably think and feel the same or similarly.  –  (See also:  “To Strike A Chord With & “To Resonate With)

(to be) On Time – This is an adverbial phrase which means to have something finished at the time or before the time that it was or is expected, or to arrive someone before or at the time that one is or was expected…  “It’s a good thing that I got my reports done *on time*.  If I hadn’t, then I would have even more work to do now.”  –  “If I don’t get to work *on time* today the boss is going to be really upset!”ething finished at the time or before the time that it was or is expected…  “It’s a good thing that I got my reports done *on time*.  If I hadn’t, then I would have even more work to do now.”

  • (to be) On The Verge Of (something) – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which means:  To be right on the edge of, and very close to something; it can be both literal of figurative…  To be right on the verge of the finish-line means:

“right at the very end of the race, and about to cross the finish-line”.

…To be right on the verge of finishing a project means that:

“the project is almost completed”.

(to) Sleep On It – This is a phrase we use when we are faced with a big decision that we can’t make right at the moment so we say we need to “Sleep On It”…  “I was offered a huge promotion with an incredible pay raise, but I was told that I would need to move to Antarctica…  I told them I would have to *sleep on it*.”

(to) Tell On (someone) – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is chiefly used by children to describe when one tells a parent of person of “authority” about some wrong-doing of another.  Since other children (and even many adults/authority figures) don’t really like or respect people that do this, children have come up with a slang term for these people:  “(a) Tattle-Tale” and the act of telling on someone is also called “Tattling“.

–  ( Prepositional Phrases – On )  –


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