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Vesuvius erupted on the inhabitants ... Options
onsen
Posted: Saturday, March 24, 2018 9:48:56 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/2017
Posts: 147
Neurons: 3,243
Hello,

Vesuvius erupted on the inhabitants in the surrounding area.
(self-made sentence)

The sentence was made in imitation of the use of 'on' in the following sentence.
She walked out on her husband.

By the sentence, I don't directly mean the ash fell on them.

Is the use of 'on' in this sense in my sentence correct?

Thank you
FounDit
Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2018 10:54:24 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 8,778
Neurons: 47,241
onsen wrote:
Hello,

Vesuvius erupted on the inhabitants in the surrounding area.
(self-made sentence)

The sentence was made in imitation of the use of 'on' in the following sentence.
She walked out on her husband.

By the sentence, I don't directly mean the ash fell on them.

Is the use of 'on' in this sense in my sentence correct?

Thank you


Yes, you could say this. It works in the same way as saying it rained on people, or it snowed on the inhabitants in the sense that it is something that happened to them, that they experienced.

For me, however, I prefer to use "onto". Though you say you don't mean ash fell on them, this is what I think of with a volcano. So if the idea is that this is something that would cover the inhabitants, I would tend to use "onto".


A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
palapaguy
Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2018 9:01:24 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/28/2013
Posts: 818
Neurons: 9,112
Location: Calabasas, California, United States
FounDit wrote:
onsen wrote:
Hello,

Vesuvius erupted on the inhabitants in the surrounding area.
(self-made sentence)

The sentence was made in imitation of the use of 'on' in the following sentence.
She walked out on her husband.

By the sentence, I don't directly mean the ash fell on them.

Is the use of 'on' in this sense in my sentence correct?

Thank you


Yes, you could say this. It works in the same way as saying it rained on people, or it snowed on the inhabitants in the sense that it is something that happened to them, that they experienced.

For me, however, I prefer to use "onto". Though you say you don't mean ash fell on them, this is what I think of with a volcano. So if the idea is that this is something that would cover the inhabitants, I would tend to use "onto".


More broadly, "on" can mean "upon" but without physical content. "He played a trick on me."
Eoin Riedy
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2018 9:30:45 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/28/2016
Posts: 165
Neurons: 1,004
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
onsen wrote:
Hello,

Vesuvius erupted on the inhabitants in the surrounding area.
(self-made sentence)

The sentence was made in imitation of the use of 'on' in the following sentence.
She walked out on her husband.

By the sentence, I don't directly mean the ash fell on them.

Is the use of 'on' in this sense in my sentence correct?

Thank you



The problem is that anyone reading the sentence would interpret it the way you say you don't mean, that the ash fell directly on them.

"She walked out on him" is similar to "the car broke down on her". In those cases, the listener would assume the person was speaking figuratively. It doesn't work with erupting volcanoes.
onsen
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2018 10:14:58 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/14/2017
Posts: 147
Neurons: 3,243
Eoin Riedy wrote:
The problem is that anyone reading the sentence would interpret it the way you say you don't mean, that the ash fell directly on them.

"She walked out on him" is similar to "the car broke down on her". In those cases, the listener would assume the person was speaking figuratively. It doesn't work with erupting volcanoes.


Thank you very much, Eoin Riedy.

Quote:

on prep
30 CAUSING SB PROBLEMS used when something bad happens to you, for example when something you are using suddenly stops working, or someone you have a relationship with suddenly leaves you: Suddenly the telephone went dead on me. | Dorothy’s first husband walked out on her.
(Longman Exams Dictionary)


My posting comes mostly from what is written above in the dictionary, that is, CAUSING SB PROBLEMS.

Please consider the phrase 'open the door on someone'.
<open the door> causes someone problems.

In the same way …
<eruption> causes the inhabitants problems.
Eoin Riedy
Posted: Monday, March 26, 2018 11:09:41 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/28/2016
Posts: 165
Neurons: 1,004
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
onsen wrote:
Please consider the phrase 'open the door on someone'.
<open the door> causes someone problems.

In the same way …
<eruption> causes the inhabitants problems.


I think the phrase "walked in on someone" may be more what you are thinking of. "Opening the door on someone" is usually considered in the literal sense, when somebody hits you with a door.
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