Would it be correct to use the phrase "在手机”/“在手机上” etc. to express that I am doing something on my phone? For example, could I say


Or can 在 only be used for my actual physical location? If so, how would I express this sort of thing? (Phrases like "on the internet", "on my computer", "on my phone", etc.)

  • 我在手机上听音乐 or 我在用手机听音乐
    – xenophōn
    Jun 26, 2017 at 11:34

7 Answers 7


Your sample sentence should be "我在我的手机上听音乐" as ChineseHulu.com said.And you actually SHOULD not omit the word "上" in this sentence,or it would be a little bit weird to native Chinese people.

"在...上" is a preposition phrase.It can be used on representational target like:
在操场上 -- on playground
在沙发上 -- on sofa

And it can be used on abstract target like
在手机上 -- on cell phone
在电脑上 -- on computer
在网络上 -- on internet

Usually we Chinese won't omit "上" if we use this phrase on abstract target or express specific position relation.So these sentence should not omit this word:
我正在手机上玩游戏 -- I'm playing game on cell phone.
我想在电脑上看电影 -- I wanna watch movie on computer.
我通常在网络上聊天 -- I usually chat on internet.
男孩在沙发上跳着 -- The boy is jumping on the sofa.

But if we use this phrase to express the location where something happened,not focusing on the position relation.We can omit this word:
男孩们在操场上玩 or 男孩们在操场玩 are all ok.(Boys are playing on the playground.)

And if you wanna express something happened on the specific location but it's a large area.You MUST omit the word "上" and the phrase thus turn into another single word preposition phrase "在...".
我在上海工作 -- I'm working in Shanghai.
我在苏州旅游 -- I'm traveling in SuZhou.

Apologize for my English.Hope you will get it all... :D

  • Thank you so much, especially for all your clarification regarding ‘上’! It's incredibly helpful!^.^I totally get it, and I learned a bit of new vocab from your explanation. And seriously, don't worry about your English; I assumed you were a native speaker right up until you apologised for it. xD Thanks again, and have a fabulous day! ^.^ Jun 26, 2014 at 20:57
  • Glad it is useful to you.And yes I'm native Shanghainese.So I can assure you that my Shanghai dialect and Mandarin are both excellent.For Cantonese,I'm OK but not that good so I will avoid answering question on it to misguide anyone. =)
    – SONIC3D
    Jun 26, 2014 at 21:21

It is proper to say "在手机”/“在手机上”, "在" doesn't necessarily mean to be at actual physical location.

For your sentence, a better grammar structure should be 我在我的手机上听音乐。In Chinese there is a tendency to put the location preposition as early as possible. In a sentence, in this case, it is right after the subject.


I am doing something on my phone ? Just translate 我在玩手机

“我听音乐在我的手机上。” It is EngChinese. Chinese should be 我在用我的手机听音乐.

"在" Can be used in both location (在北京 , in Beijing) and preposition (在看书, Reading).


I think "在手机" it self has no appropriate meaning.
It's weird that it appears alone.
"我在我的手机上听音乐。"is not common too.
"I'm online" "我在线"is correct by commonly used.
"我在用我的手机听音乐"is correct.
Also you can say"在手机里面有很多个应用程序"


I would say "我**正**在用我的手机听音乐." instead of "我在用我的手机听音乐." because "正在" is a more complete way to express the continuous tense.

And if "my" is not the main idea in the context, I think we can say "我正在用手机听音乐." It is because cell phone is kinda personal device and it is not likely let others have possession simply for music.


I have a friend,she speak more like"我在我手机听歌”,but actually is "我在我手机上听歌”,in Chinese phrase,prep is most use,In my opinion,this is practicing your listening.Hard to explain in English.


不对, 你可能想说的是我用手机听歌,但是在手机上,会感觉到不自然

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.