BYU-COCA Corpus Query – prepositions of place

I had a class recently where a question rose as to whether it is I’m on the street or I’m in the street.

How would you look for relevant info on this using BYU corpora tools? What functions and what search queries would you make?

Do post any search results.

I’ll post my findings in a week or so.


hey all somewhat forgot about this : )

so yes I did initially what Marc suggests (see comment below), then I looked at comparing US use UK use i.e. comparing COCA with BNC using this search term – [p*] [be] * the street []

although overall frequencies are low it is clear that UK English has significant uses of in the street while US English has significant uses of on the street

added to the (speculative) fact that the video maker [see previous comment about context] is probably more used to UK English then the issue that the video flags on the street as an error is somewhat more understandable

here is the video in question – []


  1. Definitely a search for “I’m * the street.” Failing that, compare frequencies for in/on with “the street.” The most frequent for a probable win.

  2. curious about the context in which the student met this language in the class – and were they asking for an either/or preposition choice or wondering which fit a certain meaning?

  3. hey Matthew, yeah was considering whether to mention more context which would have meant more words!

    it arose from a section on prepositions of place; watching a “humourous” video illustrating some prepositions of place and direction; at one point  some dialog containing I’m..on the street  was marked as an error in the video hardcoded subititles.

    i mentioned i would accept I’m on the street as correct and so a short discussion followed on this. i did do a quick search in class but was not satisified with that attempt and after the class thought a bit more about it.

    um yeah those were many more words : ) but enjoyed providing some context, thanks!

    oh do have a go Matthew! 🙂

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