You might have seen both phrases being used and wondered which one is correct, between 'on vacation' or 'on a vacation.' This article will clarify the proper usage.
In short, 'on vacation' is the correct phrase, but 'on a vacation' is commonly used and is acceptable.
Both phrases' on vacation' and 'on a vacation' tend to get used interchangeably. So what's the difference? And which one is correct?
That's what we're about to find out. But first, what does 'vacation' mean?
The word 'vacation' is a noun, most of the time. And it can have three different meanings:
'Vacation' can also be employed as a verb, in which case it takes on the third definition and can be conjugated in any tense.
Last year we vacationed in Paris.
The Brits don't say 'vacation'; they use 'holiday.'
Top Tip! 'Vacation' can be either a countable or uncountable noun.
Now we're clear on the definition of the word; how should we use it? Do we need the article 'a,' or is it correct without it?
The answer is that 'on vacation' is the correct phrase.
However, 'on a vacation' is commonly used, and no one will hold it against you if you say that because not many people know that it is grammatically incorrect. But now, you do!
One instance when you do need the article is when you say, 'take a vacation.' In that case, 'a' is indispensable.
You could say 'on the vacation' if you were talking about a specific vacation, for example:
I'm in the Bahamas. Remember the vacation I told you about?
You could also use possessive adjectives such as 'my' or 'your':
This is my only vacation of the year; please don't ruin it.
Did you enjoy your vacation?
But when using the preposition 'on,' the official, accurate way to say it is 'on vacation.'
Do you know how to pronounce 'vacation'? If you do, you can skip to the next section. If you don't, you're about to find out.
'Vacation' rhymes with 'station,' 'creation,' and 'dalmatian.' If it were spelled as it sounds, it would look like this:
[ vay-kay-shuhn ]
The International Phonetics Alphabet spells it like this:
/ veɪˈkeɪ ʃən /
Let's take a look at some examples of the phrase 'on vacation' used in a sentence.
Time flies when you're on vacation.
My husband has gone on vacation with his friends.
The kids always enjoy themselves on vacation.
I hope you found this article helpful. Here's what we learned:
If you'd like to continue improving your English skills, head to our blog to learn about more confusing words.