Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Upon and On

Upon vs On

“Upon” and “on” are both used as prepositions. Prepositions are used to express the relationship of a noun and a pronoun in the sentence with another word. They can be used interchangeably in many cases. But in particular cases like “once upon a time,” “on” cannot be used. “Upon” is considered to be more formal than “on,” and they do have some differences in their usages.

The preposition “upon” has many usages and meanings; some meanings and usages are:

“Upon” means up and on, for example;

The boy mounted upon his horse and was glad.

Someone or something in an elevated position, for example;

There were banners of the empire upon every sailing ship.

In contact with, approximately or completely, for example;

Christmas is upon us, and I need to buy gifts for the whole family.

The attackers were upon the soldiers, and they were waiting for backup.

Immediately after, for example;

He began exercising upon his surgery and got healthier faster.

On the occasion of, for example;

She was charmed upon seeing her friends gather together on Thanksgiving.

It is used for euphoric reasons, sometimes it is used for a specific use for “on,” for example;

The soldiers swore upon their lives to protect the nation.

The preposition “on” has many usages; some meanings and usages are:

It is used to show the position above which is in contact with or supported by, for example; The glass is on the table.
It shows contact with, for example; A pimple on her face.
It shows location or proximity, for example; The house is on the main road.
Suspension from or attachment to, for example; Pearls on a silver string.
It shows motion against, towards, or onto; it can show abstract motion or a specific motion, for example; Jumping on the bed. Going on two o’clock.
To show an event at a given time, for example; On the 1st of January.
At the cost of, for example; The drinks are on him.
With, for example; I have no money on me.
Concerning, for example; We have some information on her.
It shows repetition, for example; He went on and on.
Belonging to, for example; A teacher on the school staff.
To express a process of, for example; On the way, or on duty.
Means of conveyance, for example; He rode on a train.
To show the source of, for example; The motor vehicles run on gasoline.
To show taking a corrective action routinely, for example; He is on a protein diet.
Used to show an object affected by some action, for example; She knocked on the door. Have mercy on them.


“On” and “upon” are used almost similarly, but there are some differences which have been explained with the help of examples. All of the differences cannot be listed as there are many.

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  1. i’m learning a lot.

  2. great thank you!

  3. Really helpfull im learning alot

  4. Would you say, “Police should obey the limits that the law places on them.” or”…the law places upon them” ?

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