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The Preposition 'IN'
In English, prepositions are used to describe how nouns and verbs are related in terms of direction, time, position, location, and/or some other factor. Prepositions can be a great source of challenge for English-learners because each preposition often has different meanings, and some meanings do not make sense!
Here is a brief summary of some of the common and peculiar (or strange) uses of one of the most common prepositions: 'in'. Some of the uses do not make sense! You might be wondering or asking why the prepositions are used in this way. Well, even though there might be an explanation for some of the strange usages, most native English-speakers do not know the origin or meaning of theses weird prepositional uses...and they most likely don't care; they just know how and when to say them correctly!
'In' is commonly used to tell where something is, as in a 'container' (e.g. a box):
The toys are in the box.
Or, 'In' can tell where something is, as in an area of space
(e.g. city, town, neighbourhood, province/state, country, continent, ocean, the world, the solar system, the universe):
We lived in Canada for two years.
The Tower of Pisa is in Italy.
Polar bears swim in the Arctic Ocean.
Our solar system is in the Milky Way galaxy.
'In' is also used to show how much time will pass before something happens:
We will arrive in five minutes.
They finish university in two years.
The movie starts in one hour and finishes in about three hours.
'In' is also used for an area of time (not a specific point in time) such as a month, year, decade, century, or
We finish school in June.
They got married in 2001.
My father graduated in the 1970s.
Paper was invented in China in the 2nd century BC.