Would someone please help me understand the difference between [1] and [2]?

[1] We are in the summer break.

[2] We are on the summer break.

Best wishes,

1 2
No the. No in. Use We are on summer break.
Hi, CJ.

You may possibly say "on the summer break" if you need to point to a specific summer break, may you not?


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Your sentence was in the present tense, so it had to be the summer break that was happening at the time you said 'on summer break'. How many summer breaks can a person be on at the same time?
Can you make a sentence where you refer to a specific summer break? I can't imagine what you mean.
If it is in the past, then you might say "the summer break" since there could be some breaks that listeners can imagine, right?


Stephanie has grown up in a Midwestern town. Her high school summer hiatuses have always been filled with a lot fun. In her sophomore year, she and her family moved to Germany, and the summer break turned out to be the most unforgettable
Does this need "the," or not?
Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
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The "the" is not necessary because "summer break" is treated as an event, similar to a proper noun name for a holiday (i.e. "Christmas" instead of "the Christmas").
How about the following?

The day consists of six class hours. On the break between second and third periods pupils normally go to the gym, and do a ball game, and on the lunch break an outside caterer comes to the school to sell snacks.
1) Is "the" not necessary here, either? --- "the break between second and third period" and "the lunch break"
2) Is the use of "on" appropriate?

Hiro/ Sendai, Japan
1. The second "the" is not necessary because "lunch" already signifies a specific break, but "the" can be justified because "lunch break" is one of a kind. You can see this whenever people call our planet "the Earth" or "Earth". Either way is used, but "the Earth" signifies that there is only one Earth that we know of.

2. "at", "on", and "in" are all used for prepositions of time, but each are used in different ways.

 "at" is specific to roughly the minute/second (at 10:30, at noon-means 12:00 not the entire hour)

"on" is roughly a day or date (on Monday, on the weekend, on New Year's Day)

"in" is nonspecific during a certain time frame(in two minutes/days, in winter, in January, in 2008)

The use of "on" at first seems strange because the lunch break is not actually one day. However, I feel that "on" means something happening continuously through the specific time frame (i.e. it is Christmas no matter what time on December 25). So, you can see that the caterer is selling snacks continuously during the lunch break, and so "on" fits in.
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