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Difference between Fall behind in something and Fall behind on something

fall behind in something

1. fail to do enough of smth. and so move to a position behind others:

  • The country has fallen behind its competitors in the manufacture of cheap cotton goods.

2. fail to maintain a schedule of payments, etc.:

  • Jacobs began receiving letters from the bank threatening foreclosure when he fell behind in his payments.

fall behind on something —(also: fall behind with something) = fall behind in something 2:

  • John fell behind on his car payments so the bank took his car back.

Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase fall back on something—turn to smth. held as a reserve for help, etc.:

  • They had some money in the bank to fall back on.