Which English form is more popular:
"by accident" or "on accident" ?

  • English Experts tip

    These are essentially interchangeable.

    I did it by accident.
    I did it on accident.

    Both would convey the same message.

by accident

22,700,000 results on the web

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  • Examples from the web:
  • People usually have them by accident.
  • One of them will fly into a bullet by accident.
  • But I locked the door by accident.
  • This one taken by accident, utterly useless...
  • So neither of our victims were infected by accident.
  • Patients die every single day by accident.
  • A petition like this doesn't happen by accident.
  • And the pattern isn't there by accident.

on accident

191,000 results on the web

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  • Examples from the web:
  • Jun 22, 2007 ... What is the deal with the term on accident? I've always used by accident, but I've noticed a lot of pretty smart people . . . I've noticed them using ...
  • Feb 19, 2013 ... Grammar Expert, Growing up my mother was adamant we use "by accident" and " on purpose" vice "on accident", which is quite common in my ...
  • In the US, on accident is about 1–2% as common, on average, as by accident ( COCA). However, usage varies geographically; some regions use on accident ...
  • As I understand it, the conclusion is based on the observation that in one usage inventory, “on accident” was most commonly observed in the ...
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