On behalf of vs. In behalf of | Learn with Tricks

If you get confused using "on behalf of", and "in behalf of", then this post is for you. You will learn about the usage of these words with our mind tricks.

We raised money in behalf of the earthquake victims.   
The father accepted the award on behalf of his son.   

Do you know when we should use "on behalf of" and "in behalf of" ?

Quick Look

People who act as representatives of others, act "on behalf of".
People who work to help others, act "in behalf of".

Let's see them in detail.

    What is the meaning of "on behalf of" ?

    If you do something on behalf of someone, you do it because they want you to or have asked you to. In short, you do it for that person as their representative; as the agent of , or in place of .
    • A lawyer filed petition on behalf of a client. (lawyer in place of his client)
    • A doctor speaks on behalf of their patients. (doctor as a representative)

    What is the meaning of "in behalf of" ?

    If you do something in behalf of someone, you do it for the benefit or advantage of. In short, you do it for that person because they are your close relatives or friends.
    • My friends collected money in behalf of me.
    • She made an emotional public appeal in behalf or  her son.

    What is the difference between " on behalf of " and "in behalf of " ?

    Some dictionaries say that these phrases can be used interchangeably, but some say no. Here we bring the difference between them on the basis of our research.
    Let's see the difference between them.

    on behalf of  means "in place of"  or "as the agent of".  It suggests a formal relationship, like a relationship of lawyers with their clients, doctors with their patients.

    in behalf of means "for the benefit of” or "in the interest of". It  always denotes a close relationship, like a brother, sister, friend.

    With examples:

    My father called the press in my behalf means that my father supported and defended me.
    My lawyer filed case on my behalf means that my lawyer acts as representative when I was absent.

    Important point:
    You can write in someone's behalf, in behalf of someone; on someone's behalf, on behalf of someone. 
    "Upon behalf of" is a wrong phrase. 

    How do you remember the meaning of in behalf of and on behalf of ?

     We try to memorise the meaning of these phrases so that we can correctly use them in sentences.

    The preposition "in" of  in behalf of suggests "inside". Thus in behalf of is used for someone who is inside our circle, like our friends, relatives; those whom you care.

    The preposition "on" suggests outside of your circle. We use on behalf of for someone with whom we have formal relationship, like our relationship with lawyers, doctors, agents, businessmen, etc.

    Some dictionaries says that on behalf of can replace in behalf of in many contexts. Let's see it through google n grams:-

    Can we use on behalf of instead of in behalf of ?

    Let's see what our dictionaries says about their usage.
      Garner says:
    In current usage, the distinction is seldom followed; on behalf of is much more common in both senses.

    The American Heritage (guide to contemporary usage) says:
    On behalf  of may be supplanting in behalf of in many contexts.

    The Cambridge guide to English says:
    On behalf of is the standard collocation in English everywhere, though alternatives are around in both the US and the UK. In British data from the BNC, about two thirds of all instances were on behalf of X (or on X's behalf). But the rest was a mix of in behalf of, of behalf of and just plain behalf of.

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    Books on Grammar:

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