Posted by: episystechpubs | January 9, 2015

Editor’s Corner: In or Within?

Dear Editrix,

I get confused by when to use in or within. Is this dependent on the context or are both generally acceptable?


Wondering Within

Dear Wondering,

Excellent question! While in and within can both play the role of a preposition, they are not always interchangeable. Rather than go through all of the possible ways you can use the words, let’s focus on the areas in which they might be confusing.

· in: Used to indicate location or position. For example:

o The nurse gave me an injection in my arm.

o Sunny swam in the lake.

· within:Used to indicate enclosure, containment, and limitations. For example:

o Company V is excellent about promoting from within their organization.

· in or within: In the following cases you could use one or the other. It depends whether you want to emphasize the object’s location (in the jar) or that the object is contained (within the fenced area, within the center of the target). For example.

o The cookies are in the jar.

o Cats are not allowed within the fenced area of Grape Street Dog Park.

o Sam’s aim was perfect; all of the bullets landed within the center of the target.



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