THIS page provides hundreds of example sentences taken from English literature, illustrating the use of various words.

‘On’ as a preposition

Below are some examples of sentences from classic literature using the word ‘On’ as a preposition.


Her entreaty had no effect on Tom.

From ‘Mansfield Park’, by Jane Austen.


Various duties awaited me on my arrival.

From ‘Jane Eyre’, by Charlotte Brontë.


There wasn’t a scratch or a ripple on its surface.

From ‘Mr Standfast’, by John Buchan.


What voice that is nurtured on brandy can ever be clear?

From ‘Dr Thorne’, by Anthony Trollope.


What we lose on the swings we make up on the roundabouts.

From ‘Love Among the Chickens’, by P.G. Wodehouse.


Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the marriage of her nephew.

From ‘Pride and Prejudice’, by Jane Austen.


New York is a large city conveniently situated on the edge of America.

From ‘The Man with Two Left Feet (and Other Stories)’, by P.G. Wodehouse.


Then they put half a scuttle of coal on the fire and went out.

From ‘The Phoenix and the Carpet’, by Edith Nesbit.


“A child couldn’t have got drunk on it—let alone a grown man!”

From ‘The Moonstone’, by Wilkie Collins.


However, except for a large lump on his forehead, he was none the worse.

From ‘Just William’, by Richmal Crompton.


"My dear friend, he is not to be depended on. I wouldn’t trust him.”

From ‘Bleak House’, by Charles Dickens.


He looked at us, as if he could never feast his eyes on us sufficiently.

From ‘David Copperfield’, by Charles Dickens.


“This is the only point, I flatter myself, on which we do not agree.”

From ‘Pride and Prejudice’, by Jane Austen.


Scuttling a ship is surely as ancient a practice as mutiny on the high seas.

From ‘The Mutiny of the Elsinore’, by Jack London.


They asked me to take it on trust and put myself unreservedly in their hands.

From ‘Mr Standfast’, by John Buchan.


He could do things on the spur of the moment, but plans made him lose his nerve.

From ‘A Man of Means’, by P.G. Wodehouse.


I shook my head. “Many men have been hanged on far slighter evidence,” I remarked.

From ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.


Billy Windsor, placing a firm hand on his collar, led him to the door and pushed him out.

From ‘Psmith, Journalist’, by P.G. Wodehouse.


Using his marital authority, he absolutely forbade Mrs Walker’s appearance on the public stage.

From ‘Men’s Wives’, by William Makepeace Thackeray.


He was reduced to such poverty that he subsisted for two or three weeks entirely on walnuts.

From ‘Self-Help’, by Samuel Smiles.
‘He’ was Sir William Petty (1623-1687).

Picture: These six steam locomotives were special guests of the Threkeld Quarry and Mining Museum, near Keswick in Cumbria, for its steam gala in 2015. © Chris Allen, Geograph. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. By Peter Trimming, Geograph. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0.
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She almost ran out of the room, and as soon as the door was closed, burst into tears of joy.

From ‘Sense and Sensibility’, by Jane Austen.

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