Interested In or Interested On: What’s the Correct Preposition to Use?

Marcus Froland

When it comes to mastering English grammar, correct preposition use is essential. One common dilemma faced by learners is choosing between “interested in” and “interested on”. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering which of these phrases to use, you’re not alone!

As you dive into the intricacies of English grammar prepositions and preposition rules, you’ll learn that ‘interested in’ is the correct phrase to use. The phrase ‘interested in’ is a collocation, or a natural combination of words, that denotes a person’s curiosity or enthusiasm about a subject or activity. In contrast, ‘interested on’ is not a standard expression of interest in the English language.

So, why exactly is “interested in” the correct choice? Let’s explore the reasoning behind this puzzling aspect of English grammar and provide practical tips for mastering prepositional phrases like ‘interested in’.

Exploring the Adjective ‘Interested’

The adjective interested has its roots in the past participle of the verb ‘interest’, originating from the 16th-century term ‘interesse.’ The meaning of this term is to engage the attention or curiosity of an individual toward a topic, activity, or person. Often used to portray romantic inclinations toward someone, the term also applies to interests in intellectual or leisure pursuits.

When constructing sentences with ‘interested’, the pattern typically involves pairing the adjective with the preposition ‘in’ followed by the object or activity that has attracted one’s attention. In certain cases, additional information accompanies the object of interest, or the term forms a grammatical construction with a gerund to indicate the appeal of an action.

Lauren was interested in the field of environmental conservation.

In the example above, the subject (Lauren) is engaged with an intellectual pursuit (environmental conservation), highlighting the versatile usage of ‘interested’ in various contexts.

Common Richly Diverse Contexts

There are numerous instances in which the adjective ‘interested’ finds use to indicate fascinated attention toward something. Many of these situations can include:

  1. Romantic or personal connections
  2. Intellectual subject matter
  3. Creative or artistic expressions
  4. Sports and other recreational activities
  5. Professional or career pursuits
  6. Lifestyle choices and beliefs

The word’s adaptability across a broad range of subject matters and contexts explains its widespread application in everyday language.

Usage with Gerunds

When ‘interested’ accompanies a gerund, it denotes the desire to engage in a particular action, often indicating a passion or hobby. The general construction involves a subject followed by ‘interested in’ plus a gerund.

  • Kevin was interested in painting since a young age.
  • Sarah is interested in learning new languages.
  • They are interested in travelling around the world.

In these examples, we see individuals with keen engagement in various activities, with ‘interested in’ serving as a driving motivation behind their pursuits.

Prepositions in the English Language: A Brief Overview

Prepositions are integral parts of the English language, playing a crucial role in connecting ideas and indicating relationships between elements in a sentence. In this section, we will explore the various aspects of prepositions, their functions, and the versatile roles they play within the context of a sentence. Additionally, we will dive deeper into the specific preposition ‘in’ and its many uses.

What Are Prepositions?

Prepositions are words that express relationships between elements in a sentence, particularly in regards to time, place, direction, and introducing objects. They can be broken down into categories such as:

  • Spatial prepositions: indicating location or position (e.g., ‘in’, ‘on’)
  • Temporal prepositions: denoting time (e.g., ‘before’, ‘after’)
  • Directional prepositions: expressing movement or direction (e.g., ‘to’, ‘from’)

How Prepositions Connect Ideas

By specifying spatial relationships, temporal cues, and other associations between subjects, actions, and objects in a sentence, prepositions facilitate the connection between ideas. They are typically followed by a noun or pronoun, or a noun phrase, and can often serve metaphorical purposes. For instance, the preposition ‘in’ can both indicate location (e.g., ‘in bed’) and time (e.g., ‘in 2001’), as well as represent metaphorical states such as being ‘in love’ or ‘in danger’.

Prepositions add context and clarity to the intended meaning of a sentence, helping to define the relationship between the words.

The Specific Roles of ‘In’ Within Prepositions

The preposition ‘in’ serves a versatile function within the grammatical framework of the English language. It can denote:

  1. Spatial containment: ‘in a room’
  2. Temporal occurrence: ‘in the summer’
  3. Metaphorical prepositions: associations in concepts of time and space abstractly, such as being ‘in trouble’

Colloquially, ‘in’ can also refer to trends or social status. Within prepositional phrases, ‘in’ forms fixed expressions with certain adjectives, verbs, or nouns, such as ‘interested in’, which cannot be modified by the rules of logic but are instead established through usage.

Understanding the fundamentals of prepositions, their various types, and the specific roles they play in sentences is essential for mastering the English language. By familiarizing yourself with the preposition ‘in’ and its many applications, you can improve your proficiency and communication skills.

The Case for ‘Interested In’: Usage and Grammar

In terms of correct grammatical usage, ‘interested in’ is always used to express one’s curiosity or enthusiasm about a subject. It is a prepositional collocation that simply fits together according to English language conventions, not by rule-based grammar. When ‘interested’ is paired with ‘in’, it generally follows a structure where the subject is ‘interested in’ an object, often extended for additional details.

The use of ‘interested in’ before a gerund is another common structure, demonstrating the desire to engage in an activity. In every case, ‘interested in’ indicates being keenly attuned to something, while ‘interested on’ does not conform to the standard linguistic patterns for depicting interest.

‘Interested in’ has the grammatical justification that comes from being a preposition collocation and not from following any specific rule in the English language.

To further illustrate the usage of ‘interested in’, let’s explore a few examples of how it is correctly used in different contexts:

  • Rebecca is interested in photography.
  • Mike was interested in joining the gym.
  • The students are interested in learning more about climate change.

As these examples show, ‘interested in’ is a versatile phrase that can be used across various subjects and activities. Keep in mind that ‘interested on’ should never be used as a replacement for ‘interested in’ as it is not a standard English expression for showing interest.

Unpacking the Combination of ‘Interested’ and Prepositions

Understanding the distinction between different prepositional pairings with the word ‘interested’ can be crucial in effective communication. In this section, we will explore the combinations of ‘interested in’ vs. ‘interested to,’ as well as common errors and misconceptions associated with these phrases.

Understanding ‘Interested In’ vs. ‘Interested To’

While ‘interested in’ is the standard choice for expressing general interest, ‘interested to’ comes into play when used with verbs of perception in the infinitive form. Examples of these verbs include ‘hear,’ ‘see,’ and ‘find out.’ The pairing of ‘interested to’ with these verbs demonstrates an eagerness or curiosity to learn or experience something new.

For example, you might say, “I’m interested to hear more about your trip,” or “I’m interested to learn how this new technology works.”

In such cases, ‘interested to’ indicates the willingness to receive information or the specific intent for an experience.

Common Errors and Misconceptions

Using ‘interested on’ is generally considered an incorrect prepositional pairing, and its usage should be avoided. Misunderstanding the idiomatic and fixed nature of prepositional collocations often leads to this mistake. Some may misuse ‘interested on’ when trying to express interest specifically on a particular day, or when using phrases involving financial interest, such as ‘interest on,’ where ‘interest’ is a noun, not an adjective.

  1. Incorrect: “I am interested on learning more about English grammar.”
  2. Correct: “I am interested in learning more about English grammar.”

Comprehending the grammatical misconceptions surrounding ‘interested in’ and other prepositions is essential. Another common error is confusing the adjectives ‘interested’ and ‘interesting.’ While ‘interested’ signifies a state of curiosity or engagement, ‘interesting’ describes the quality of being engaging or captivating.

  1. Incorrect: “This book is really interested.”
  2. Correct: “This book is really interesting.”

Remembering the specific functions of these adjectives and their prepositional pairings can help you steer clear of such inaccuracies.

Practical Tips for Mastering Prepositional Phrases

Mastering prepositional phrases is an essential step in achieving English language fluency, particularly when it comes to collocations with adjectives. Since there are no specific rules dictating why certain prepositions pair with specific words, becoming familiar with these lexical units requires dedication and practice. In this section, we will explore some effective English language learning tips and provide guidance on proper preposition usage.

One of the most effective ways to master prepositional phrases is through frequent reading and listening. Engaging with various forms of content, such as books, articles, podcasts, and videos, can help you absorb common collocations and understand their correct usage. Make note of how native speakers use certain adjective-preposition combinations, and try to incorporate them into your own speaking and writing exercises. This will not only build familiarity with these phrases but also improve your overall fluency.

Another valuable approach is using resources such as dictionaries, grammar guides, and online forums that specifically list common adjective-preposition combinations. These tools can serve as handy references when practicing prepositional phrases and ensure you are using them correctly. Remember, the more you expose yourself to the English language in context, the more confident you will become in using prepositional phrases like ‘interested in’. By diligently following these guidelines and consistently practicing, you’ll be well on your way to mastering prepositional phrases and enhancing your English language proficiency.