'The rain in Spain falls mainly…' :)


Despite I’m sure that that well-famous pronunciation exercise from ‘My fair lady’ is The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain, I’ve also met - more than once - the version with
‘… on the plain’.

Is that also correct – grammatically?
And how it changes the meaning (if it’s actually changed…)?

Hi Tamara

I’ve heard “The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.” … 8)


Hi Amy

OK. Perhaps, I’ve mistaken the verb.

I fear to say aloud the word ‘Google’ any more, :slight_smile:
but it seems that now we can have four versions:

stays on/ stays in
falls on / falls in

Which ones are correct grammatically? (Of course, except for the version you’ve already mentioned :))

Hi Tamara

Sorry, I was teasing you a little. 8) I’ve also heard “falls”, but I believe the original lyrics use the words “stays” and “in”.

I think the whole preposition question is related to the fact that people sometimes only know most of the original words in lyrics, and not necessarily all of them. If somebody changes the word stays to falls, that person might keep all of the remaining words exactly the same (i.e., they might still use “in” because they remember that the word “in” is part of the original lyrics). Or they might also change the word “in” to “on” because that sounds more logical to them in combination with “falls”. I know it would sound more logical to me. After all, rain does fall on things, doesn’t it?:smiley:

Using the prepostion “in” might be seen as meaning “within a certain area” (the plain) or I guess you might even be able to interpret it as “in the ground”. And my opinion is that in works better (more logically) with stays than with falls in this case. :smiley:


I looked for the lyrics:
stlyrics.com/lyrics/myfairla … nspain.htm

So, in the song both falls and on are also used, but not in the line (sentence) you quoted. “On” is only used in response to a question about where the rain “falls”. :smiley:

Amy, thank you very much for the explanation for stay/fall on/in!


P.S. Hmm. That’s interesting – how ‘precisely’ people mix them up:

397,000 for The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain.
399,000 for The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.

471,000 for The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.
479,000 for The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

(not to mention lots of other… derivatives and puns :slight_smile: )