Differences Between Board, on Board, Aboard

    08 July 2023

    And now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.

    Today, we discuss the word board.

    As a noun, board has a couple of meanings.

    FILE - Welcome aboard is a common greeting as you board a cruise ship. (Adobe Stock Photo)
    FILE - "Welcome aboard" is a common greeting as you board a cruise ship. (Adobe Stock Photo)

    It can be a long thick piece of wood or other strong material – like a diving board. A board can also be a group of people who make decisions for an organization. An example is a board of directors.

    As a verb, board means several things.

    Board can mean providing food for someone regularly. For example, a college student's costs include housing and food, called room and board.

    Board can also mean closing off parts of a building with pieces of wood. Sometimes in scary movies, people board up the doors and windows to keep monsters from entering.

    Board, on board, aboard

    Board, on board, and aboard are all used differently.

    At a train station, we sometimes hear a conductor say, "All aboard," as the train is getting ready to leave. And the captain of a ship might say, "Welcome aboard," as you climb on the boat.

    However, we say you board a plane, train, or boat when you get on it. And we say you are on board once you get on.

    If you agree with an idea or a process, we also say that you are on board with it. But we never say you are aboard with it. And if you are very excited about an idea or process, you do not just get on board, you jump on board!

    We also use the term onboarding to describe the process of starting a new job. This is the process in which new workers learn about a company, work rules, and things related to the job.

    Across the board

    At VOA Learning English and many other organizations, all workers are required to attend onboarding and other training. So, we say the training requirement affects everyone across the board.

    We use the expression across the board when something affects every part or every individual within a larger group. For example, when the government raises taxes on all income levels, it affects everyone across the board.

    Experts say, across the board comes from a horse-racing bet. It means the same amount is bet for a horse to come in first, second, and third in a race.

    And that's all the time we have for this Words and Their Stories.

    We hope you are on board with the expressions and use them in your next English conversation!

    Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo.

    Anna Matteo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.


    Words in This Story

    scary –adj. something that causes fear or makes people afraid

    monster –n. a strange and horrible imaginary creature

    conductor –n. a person who takes tickets on a train

    bet –v. to put money at risk in hope of winning more money by guessing the outcome of a game or a competition