Apple
Is there any difference between "on the top of " and "at the top of " Beyond demographics, the United States confronts a range of other challenges, globalization is at the top of that list. In this sentence, I wonder if the last part "at the top of that list " could be replaced by "on the top of that list "? But some say it's uncorrect to say "on the top of something ", the correct way to put is ""on top of something " ? and I really wonder if there is any difference between the two phases? Could anyone help me out ~Thanks a lot!
Feb 10, 2016 1:11 PM
Answers · 6
'At' indicates a stage in a journey or progression of some kind, or a position along a continuum. So, if you are climbing a mountain, your climb begins at the bottom of the mountain and it ends at the top of a mountain. These are the key stages of your journey. When you make a list, some things are at the top of the list and some things are at the bottom. 'At the top' of a list is the top position. 'On' refers to a physical, literal location. So, while you could say 'on the top of the mountain', because 'the top of the mountain' is also a physical location, it wouldn't be so normal to say 'on the top of the list'. It's not incorrect as such - 'incorrect' not 'uncorrect', note - to say 'on the top of', but we don't often have occasion to say it. 'The flag is on the top of the castle', 'the cat is on the top of the wardrobe', are possible, for example. Here we are thinking of 'the top of the castle' and 'the top of the wardrobe' as specific locations. This isn't quite the same as 'on top of' which is the opposite of 'under'. To understand the difference, think of this - the teacher marks a pile of students' books, and puts them in order of merit. Then she put her pen on top of the pile. The book belonging to the student with the lowest mark is at the bottom of the pile, and the one belonging to the best student is at the top of the pile. The teacher's pen is on top of the pile.
February 10, 2016
Both you and I need answer :)
February 10, 2016
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!
Apple
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English