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Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
Is it correct to say "on the list" or "in the list"?
Thursday March 14th 2013
Question
Is it correct to say "on the list" or "in the list"?
Answer

Question

Is it correct to say "on the list" or "in the list"?  -V. Chan, Hong Kong 

 

Answer 

Thank you for this interesting question.

In almost all contexts, it is customary and correct to say on the list (or on my list, on their list, etc.). Here are some representative example sentences:

Examples with on

  • Your name is the first one on the list. 
  • Her novel is on the list of recommended readings. 
  • China is high on my list of places to go. 
  • She is on the short list for the Nobel Prize. 

However, as you have probably noticed, sometimes in the list is used as well. Most often, in the list is used after some form of the word include, as in the examples shown below. 

Examples with in 

  • We were included in the guest list.
  • Included in the list of available cars we find midsize cars, pickup trucks, and minivans.
  • Both publishers and artists are included in the list. 
  • For inclusion in the list, all information needs to be submitted by August 10th. 

This is because include has a strong tendency to be used with the preposition in, as in the expressions, "You are included in our thoughts and prayers," and "It's included in the price." Except after include, I recommend that you use on the list. 

I hope this helps to answer your question. 

 

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