“In Bed” or “On Bed”: What’s the Difference?

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A commonly asked question in the English language learning community is if we should say “in bed” or “on bed.”

Assuming you’re talking about the preposition, there is a big difference between “in bed” and “on bed.”

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In Bed Vs. On Bed

If you’re “in bed,” your body is physically in the bed underneath the covers. You’re probably asleep (or at least trying to be).

By comparison, if you’re “on the bed,” you’re physically on top of the bed, probably on the bed covers. You might be sitting or lying down, but you’re not underneath the sheets.

“In Bed” Meaning

If we say we are “in bed,” it means that we are underneath the covers.

If someone says, “I am in bed,” it likely means they are trying to sleep or rest.

Here are some examples of sentences with “in bed”:

  • I took a nap in bed for thirty minutes.
  • She’s been in bed with a cold for three days.
  • The baby was in bed by 7:30 p.m., and now he is finally asleep.
  • I was in bed for eight hours but only asleep for two hours.
  • After a long day of work, I just want to relax in my bed.
  • I was in bed early last night.
  • I would come to breakfast, but I am still in bed.
  • It was Mother’s day, so I had breakfast in bed.
  • I didn’t want to get up, so I stayed in bed on my phone instead.
  • I prefer to sleep in a bed, not on a sofa!

“On Bed” Meaning

When we use the preposition “on,” it means that we are on top of something.

If someone says, “I am on the bed,” it likely means they are sitting or lying down on their mattress but not underneath the covers. They might have pillows propped up behind them too.

Here are some examples of sentences with “on bed”:

  • I read on the bed until I felt tired.
  • My dog likes to sleep on the bed.
  • The baby is on the bed playing with his toys.
  • I was on the bed for a few minutes, but then I got up and went to the fridge for a snack.
  • The hotel put fresh towels on the bed.
  • I accidentally left my phone on the bed.
  • I sat on the bed while playing video games.

Useful Links

Other posts that may interest you:

Commonly Asked Questions Related to “In Bed” or “On Bed”

Here are some other questions you may have related to our topic “in bed” or “on bed”:

Do we say “sleep in bed” or “sleep on bed”?

We say “sleep in bed,” for example, “Jack sleeps in his bed every night.”

Do we say “lying in bed” or “lying on the bed”?

You can say “lying in bed” if you are under the covers. You can say “lying on the bed” if you are on top of the bed.

When do we say “get into the bed”?

You can say “get into bed” when it’s time to sleep. It is the act of lying in the bed and putting the covers over you. For example, “I got into bed after a long day at work.”

Key Takeaways

Remember, if you’re “in bed,” you’re physically in the bed and underneath the covers.

If you’re “on bed,” you’re physically on top of the bed, but not necessarily underneath the covers.

Now that you know the difference choose the right preposition next time you talk about being in or on bed!

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In Conclusion

We hope this article helped clear up the confusion between “in bed” and “on bed.” If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends if you find it helpful.

Happy learning!

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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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