In vs. Within

I received a question from the Peanut Gallery today. Robert asks:

“What is proper usage of the word ‘in’ versus ‘within’?

In is a preposition that denotes inclusion or location. It can also mean “into.”

Examples:

He is in the military.  (inclusion)

I live in Houston.  (location)

Go jump in the lake.  (into)

Within is also a preposition, but it has a subtle meaning of “inside the boundaries or limits.”

Examples:

Fireworks are illegal within the city limits.

Do not store bleach within reach of young children.

When speaking about time, keep this subtle difference in mind.

Examples:

I can finish the job in two days.  (plus or minus a few hours)

You must finish the job within two days.  (penalty if it takes 49 hours)

Here’s another example that shows the difference between location and boundaries:

She is in the box.

She thinks within the box.

Both mean “inside,” but the former denotes location, and the latter denotes a limit.
—————————————–

Profound Quotes of the Day

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

– Buddha
“Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”

– Mother Teresa

2 Responses to “In vs. Within”

  1. Within vs In « cloudflyfree Says:

    […] https://oilpatchwriting.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/in-vs-within/ […]

  2. bouncegodzilla Says:

    “In” can also be a duration, as in “you can do it in less than an hour”, or “the food will be ready in twenty minutes”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: