On or in a TV show

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Oflick
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On or in a TV show

Postby Oflick » Sun Sep 18, 2011 11:49 am UTC

A basic question I've been wondering for the past 30 seconds (someone changed the wording in a wikipedia article I watch): Does someone appear "on" a TV show, or do they appear "in" a TV Show? For example, did Alyson Hannigan appear in Buffy, or did she appear on Buffy?

I always thought "on", but occasioanlly I hear "in". Are both acceptable?
Last edited by Oflick on Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:38 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Microscopic cog » Sun Sep 18, 2011 12:20 pm UTC

I don't know, but I'd say you see something on tv, but if you're talking about a charactar, you will see the character in the tv show.

I saw Alyson Hannigan on TV.
Alyson Hannigan appeared in Buffy.
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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby gmalivuk » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:52 pm UTC

"on TV" is far more common than "in TV", to the point where I'd tend to say the latter is ungrammatical.

"on a TV show" is also more common than "in a TV show", but not by as high a margin, and so I'd say the latter is an accepted but less common variant.

(If someone has the motivation to run a search of the BYU corpus with a list of specific TV shows to see if the grammar changes with that change, go right ahead.)
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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:01 pm UTC

Perhaps "in TV" implies an involvement in the industry where "on TV" implies an appearance on a show?

I think this holds, but not with the OP's sentence structure. It's, "I work in TV". To some extent, though, I think it's a porous division.
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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Derek » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:42 pm UTC

I think you always appear in a movie, but usually on a TV show.

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby PM 2Ring » Mon Sep 19, 2011 4:34 am UTC

Microscopic cog wrote:I don't know, but I'd say you see something on tv, but if you're talking about a charactar, you will see the character in the tv show.

I saw Alyson Hannigan on TV.
Alyson Hannigan appeared in Buffy.

I like this usage.

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Sex on TV makes me uncomfortable, especially when I get poked in the eye by the aerial.

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Sizik » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:21 pm UTC

The way I'd understand (or say) it, someone being "in a TV show" implies they played a character, while being "on a TV show" would mean that they're appearing as themselves, and mostly applies to shows that frequently have guests (talk shows, SNL, etc.).
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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby AvatarIII » Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:28 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:The way I'd understand (or say) it, someone being "in a TV show" implies they played a character, while being "on a TV show" would mean that they're appearing as themselves, and mostly applies to shows that frequently have guests (talk shows, SNL, etc.).


yeah i agree with this. it seems to make sense,

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Anonymously Famous » Mon Sep 19, 2011 6:50 pm UTC

"On" seems more correct to me, but I have absolutely nothing aside from personal preference to back it up.

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Felstaff » Tue Sep 20, 2011 3:55 pm UTC

After Ken Jennings appeared on the TV show Jeopardy! as a contestant, he had a brief cameo in the TV show Two and a Half Men as an inquisitive post-man.

Just my personal preference. A person appears on a show, a character appears in one.

NB: Ken Jennings has never appeared in the TV show Two and a Half Men. It's a trick called 'lying', which I learned during my time as Dr. Drake Ramoray in the TV show Days of Our Lives, and as panel host Stephen Fry on the TV show Q.I.
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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Rodion Raskolnikov » Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:29 pm UTC

Felstaff wrote:After Ken Jennings appeared on the TV show Jeopardy! as a contestant, he had a brief cameo in the TV show Two and a Half Men as an inquisitive post-man.


I've never seen "postman" hyphenated before. Conjurns up an image of some kind of highly evolved after-human being that has travelled back in time to make an appearance on Two and a Half Men.

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:12 pm UTC

Rodion Raskolnikov wrote:Conjurns up an image of some kind of highly evolved after-human being that has travelled back in time to make an appearance on Two and a Half Men.
Precisely.
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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby AvatarIII » Thu Sep 22, 2011 1:30 pm UTC

Rodion Raskolnikov wrote:
Felstaff wrote:After Ken Jennings appeared on the TV show Jeopardy! as a contestant, he had a brief cameo in the TV show Two and a Half Men as an inquisitive post-man.


I've never seen "postman" hyphenated before. Conjurns up an image of some kind of highly evolved after-human being that has travelled back in time to make an appearance on Two and a Half Men.



intestingly the term posthuman has optional hyphenation but is listed in wikipedia without the hyphen, post-man is obviously not PC enough for these days.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posthuman
A posthuman or post-human is a concept originating notably in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy. These multiple and interactive origins have contributed to profound confusion over the similarities and differences between the posthuman of "posthumanism" and the posthuman of "transhumanism".

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Oflick » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:02 pm UTC

Sizik wrote:The way I'd understand (or say) it, someone being "in a TV show" implies they played a character, while being "on a TV show" would mean that they're appearing as themselves, and mostly applies to shows that frequently have guests (talk shows, SNL, etc.).


This one makes sense to me.

Though, I'm actually starting to think using "in" to imply a regular appearance, and "on" to imply a guest appearance. I don't know, that also seems to make sense to me in a weird way.

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Sean Quixote » Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:57 pm UTC

Spoiler:
AvatarIII wrote:
Rodion Raskolnikov wrote:
Felstaff wrote:After Ken Jennings appeared on the TV show Jeopardy! as a contestant, he had a brief cameo in the TV show Two and a Half Men as an inquisitive post-man.


I've never seen "postman" hyphenated before. Conjurns up an image of some kind of highly evolved after-human being that has travelled back in time to make an appearance on Two and a Half Men.



intestingly the term posthuman has optional hyphenation but is listed in wikipedia without the hyphen, post-man is obviously not PC enough for these days.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posthuman
A posthuman or post-human is a concept originating notably in the fields of science fiction, futurology, contemporary art, and philosophy. These multiple and interactive origins have contributed to profound confusion over the similarities and differences between the posthuman of "posthumanism" and the posthuman of "transhumanism".

And here I was, conjuring up this image... :mrgreen:



I like to think that I would treat "on versus in" the same way in almost any situation. The following sentence for example: If I log on Facebook in Firefox, I'm obviously not at my normal computer.

I wanted to say that they're pretty much interchangeable, but perhaps that should be an exclusive or... :P

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Oflick » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:34 am UTC

If I log on Facebook in Firefox, I'm obviously not at my normal computer.


Sorry, but I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say. Why are you obviously not at your normal computer?

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:55 pm UTC

If you think you always use them the same way in any situation, why do you read something in a book but on the internet?
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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Aiwendil » Thu Sep 29, 2011 12:58 am UTC

Because I had to open the book and look at its insides to read it. If I learned something from reading the back cover, for instance, I'd say I read it on the cover.

But you are quite right that in many cases the use of one preposition or another is a matter of convention. Maybe a better example is that one is 'in' a country or a city but 'on' an island or a continent. Or even more pointedly, something is 'in' the world but 'on' the earth. (For that matter, H.G. Wells wrote about the first men 'in' the moon but nowadays we'd speak of them being 'on' it).

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Re: On or in a TV show

Postby Sean Quixote » Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:56 am UTC

Oflick wrote:
If I log on Facebook in Firefox, I'm obviously not at my normal computer.


Sorry, but I'm not entirely sure what you're trying to say. Why are you obviously not at your normal computer?

Because my preferred browser is Opera, therefore I must be either at the library or a friend's house. ;)


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