First of all, sorry for the long delay between posts. As you may have guessed, I took the summer off. Now that school is back in session, I hope to update this blog 1-2 times per week. Ok, back to work.


In English, when we are ready to sleep at night we say we are “going to bed.” When we are preparing to sleep, it is very common to say we are “getting ready for bed.”

What time do you usually go to bed?
How long does it take you to get ready for bed?

Because of this special meaning, the prepositions can be confusing.  “In bed” means that you are under the covers and (usually) ready to sleep.  If you are not ready to go to sleep (or under the covers), we use “on the bed”

While I was in the bed, the phone rang. (NOT COMMON)

While I was in bed, the phone rang. (idiomatic usage)

The children were sick in their beds all week. (NOT COMMON)

The children were sick in bed all week. (idiomatic usage)

Many women think it is romantic to be served breakfast in their beds. (NOT COMMON)

Many women think it is romantic to be served breakfast in bed. (idiomatic usage)

I was sitting on the bed when the phone rang. (OK – literal usage)

I like to study on my bed. (OK – literal usage)

Children like to jump on their beds! (OK – literal usage)

As you can see in the examples, you should not use an article (a/an/the) or other determiners (my, your, this, that, etc.) when you use “bed” with this special meaning of sleeping (usually with the prepositions “to” or “for”.  You will also notice that this usage is never plural.)

However, when you use the preposition “on” it is common to use determiners and plurals.