When to use "on" and "in" a given topic

Hi I am really confuse on how to use "on and “in” a given topic, for example, “on the matter or in the matter”, “on the issues or in the issue” "on a given topic or in a given topic. Please enlighten me

Exposure will teach you my friend.


I think if the meaning is “about” then try using “on.”

I googled “in the topic” (which sounded strange to me) and found these:

“the student should be confident in the topic he chooses”
“an excellent way to remain engaged in the topic”
“how you initially became interested in the topic”
“all the posts in the topic are also deleted” (topic being part of a forum or something)
“not included in the topic”

In these sentences the choice of “in” doesn’t have much to do with the fact that the noun is “topic.” If you replace “topic” with a different suitable word you would still probably use “in.”

With these nuanced language features you need exposure. Explanations will not help you. Most natives can’t explain them they just either sound right or they don’t.

I’ll try anyway for giggles.

On the matter of AND In the matter of sound like they would be used in a courtroom to start discussing certain cases.

It would be ‘on the issue of…’ and not ‘in the issue of…’ usually.

It would be ‘on a given topic…’, but ‘in a given topic’ might make sense although i would expect ‘in’ to be ‘within’ ie ‘discuss your point of view within a given topic.’

This is a good addition, especially the part about exposure mentioned by Drew and another.

I’ll throw on a little more. In the instances being discussed by the dmram, you are pretty much always going to use “on” because it means “about” or “regarding.” You would use this to introduce or summarize a topic or subtopic.

“In” is going to be used rarely, such as “In this instance, case, etc.” Drew mentioned that “in the matter of” sounded like a courtroom/legal discussion. Absolutely, the rest of that sentence was “In the matter of X versus Y, the Supreme Court ruled…” Because it is a legal term to discuss what was happening IN or DURING that hearing, trial, case, decision, finding, etc.

oh I see, so there are no particular rules about this thing. Makes sense now because when I searched on google I got no results.lol

Thank you very much :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot Drew. I thought there are certain rules about this thing but since there are no such, I will just follow your advice :slight_smile:

This is the kind of question where referring to a corpus is very useful. If your interest is American English, head for English-Corpora: COCA

thank you very much :slight_smile:

LILingquist ooh so thank you :slight_smile: Now it’s pretty clear to me

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