Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

On, onto

from English Grammar Today

On and onto are prepositions.

We use on when we refer to a position on a surface (on the table, on the ocean, on the moon, on the roof, on the bus):

Your keys are on the table.

The men were standing on the roof.

We use onto to talk about direction or movement to a position on a surface, usually with a verb that expresses movement:

The cat climbed onto the roof.

She emptied the suitcase full of clothes onto the floor.

We use on to describe a position along a road or river or by the sea or by a lake:

The hotel is on the road opposite the beach.

They have a fabulous house on a lake in Ireland.

We use onto to describe movement towards an end position along a road or river:

The path leads onto the main road.

We use on or onto with very little difference in meaning to refer to attachment or movement of something to something else. Onto gives a stronger feeling of movement:

There’s a battery pack with the camera that you can clip onto a belt.

You can save the data onto your hard disk.

Have you put the pictures on your memory stick?

(“On, onto” from English Grammar Today © Cambridge University Press. Need grammar practice? Try English Grammar Today with Workbook.)
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Word of the Day

luck out

to be very lucky

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More