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Preposition In

How to Use the Preposition In

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The preposition 'in' has many uses in English. This page summarizes the uses of 'in' as a preposition and provides examples for each type of use. Important prepositional phrases with 'in' are used to introduce and connect ideas are also listed with appropriate examples. These are also known as discourse markers.

In as a Preposition

In - Time

'In' is used as a preposition with various times. Use 'in' with specific months of the year:

Let's get together in June.
Tom's birthday is in September.

Use 'in' when referring to specific years:

Jack was born in 1986.
I was hired for this job in 2005.

Use 'in' when referring to a period of time in the future.

We will be finished with the project in two weeks' time.
I think I'm going to study Russian in three years.

In - Time Expressions

'In' is used with specific time expressions referring to the morning, afternoon or evening. NOTE: Use 'at' with 'night':

Let's discuss this issue in the afternoon.
They usually have breakfast early in the morning.
BUT: I generally go to bed early at night.

In - Places

'In' is used with cities, regions, countries and contents.

They live in Canada.
I've never lived in London. In fact, I've never lived in Europe.

In front of

The prepositional phrase 'in front of' is used to refer objects and people that are placed in front of another object, building, landmark, etc. The opposite of 'in front of' is 'behind'.

Tom is standing in front of his house.
There are a number of benches in front of the municipal court house.

Important Phrases with In

There are a number of important phrases with 'in' used to introduce and link ideas in English.

In addition

'In addition' is a way of introducing another topic, idea, object to what has already been stated.

In addition, we will need to purchase a number of appliances for the home.
In addition, Tom felt we should seriously consider hiring a new assistant.

In all / most / many / few cases

'In all / most / many / etc. cases' provides a reference to how many instances in a certain situation is true or false.

In most cases people choose their profession in their twenties.
In some cases, patients experience discomfort.

In any case

'In any case' is used to move forward with a topic after considering other ideas.

In any case, let's decide where we'll stay on vacation.
In any case, we finally bought the car after much consideration.

In case

'In case' is used like 'if' to indicate a condition.

In case you need me, just give me a telephone call.
He brought his umbrella along in case it rained.

In conclusion

'In conclusion' is used to summarize a discussion, or to suggest a final action.

In conclusion, I would like to suggest that we take a vote on the proposal.
In conclusion, we're interested in working with you on the project.

In fact

'In fact' is used to present factual information. 'In fact' is often used to emphasize certain information.

In fact, she left work earlier than was allowed.
I really like your idea. In fact, I think we'll put it into action!

In general

'In general' is used to introduce a general idea about a given topic.

In general, teens enjoy spending a lot of time texting.
What do you think in general about his ideas?

In my opinion

'In my opinion' is used to introduce personal opinions.

In my opinion, I think we should stay in this house rather than move.
In my opinion, it's important to hire a consultant for this job.

In order to

'In order to' is used together with a verb to state a purpose.

We need to make some cement in order to complete this job.
Tim hired an assistant to help him with daily tasks around the office.

In other words

'In other words' is used to restate something.

In other words, let's spend more time researching this idea.
In other words, I'd love to find another job.

In particular

'In particular' is used to highlight a specific point in a discussion.

In particular, I think we should focus on finding new clients.
In particular, Tom wants us to speak to Peter about the issue.

In short

'In short' is used to quickly summarize.

In short, we need to hire a few assistants.
In short, we decided to stay home this summer.

In spite of

'In spite of' is used as 'despite'.

In spite of the weather, we went for a walk.
She got married to Doug in spite of her parents reservations.

Special Case: In time vs On Time

'In time' indicates that you have done something within the appropriate amount of time. 'On time' means that you have arrived somewhere at the agreed upon time.

I finished the report in time for the meeting.
Janice gave her recommendations in time for us to make an informed decision.

BUT

I arrived at the meeting on time.
She picked us up at the airport on time.

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