Prepositional Phrases – In

–  Prepositional Phrases – In  –


An Alphabetical list of English Prepositional Phrases using the word “In”  –  If you do not see the Phrase that you are looking for, please let me know in the comments below and I will be happy to add it for you at my earliest convenience.


In




  • (to be) Drowning In (something) – Literally speaking, to be “drowning” or to have “drowned” means to be be killed by suffocation from water (for example:  when a person who can’t swim falls off a boat.)  However, figuratively speaking this is an adjectival phrase which means to be so overwhelmed by something that one is not able to function properly…  “With so many people being laid-off at work, I’m completely *drowning in* extra work that shouldn’t even be my responsibility!”

  • (to) Fill (Someone) In (about something) – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Phrasal-Verb which means to give someone all the necessary information, details, knowledge, etc. about a certain situation or situations…

“I need you to fill me in on everything that you have been doing since we last spoke.”

“Allow me to fill you in on some of the things that we have been doing with our latest project.”


  • (to) Get Caught Up In (something) – This is an idiomatic verb phrase which is used to describe a situation wherein one gets involved in something (a group or project) that he or she was not intending to.  He or she may not want to be in the situation, or were simply not expecting to become as involved as he or she has become.  This phrase (in business) is usually used in a negative way, but it can also be used to describe becoming (unexpectedly) involved in something good as well…  “I didn’t intend on becoming an English teacher, but it was the easiest way to get a visa, and after a couple years of doing it, I got *caught up* in it, and now I don’t see myself doing anything else for the foreseeable future.”

  • (to) Get In Shape – This is an idiomatic Phrasal Verb which means: to exercise and to condition the body so that it is healthy and in a much more appealing figure (shape)…  “In America, people are always talking about how they really need to get in shape, but then they never do anything about it.  And then to make things worse they eat even more because they are depresses, so now it is a country of fat, depressed, and unhealthy people.”

  • (to) Have Too Many Irons In The Fire – This is a “stative” verb phrase (similar to: “To have too much on one’s plate” – however this one is only about work or projects.)  This phrase is making reference to the art of the blacksmith.  If the blacksmith *has too many irons in his/her fire* then they will draw the energy out of the fire causing them to not become hot enough, making it more difficult to work with, causing it harder for the blacksmith to work…  Therefore, to *have too many irons in the fire* is much more than just having too much work.  It also explains that this situation makes it not only more difficult ot do the work, but that it will take more effort and ultimately the end result will be of lesser quality than if there were just slightly fewer “irons” in the fire.

  • (to be) In Charge Of (something) – This is a phrase which means to be “in control” of something and that that thing is your responsibility…  “As head of the department, I am *in charge of* making sure that everyone does their job correctly and efficiently, according to company standards.”

  • In (one’s) Own Time – This is an adverbial phrase used to describe HOW one will do something.  To say, “I’ll do it *in my own time* means that that person will do (whatever it is) according to their own schedule and will not be pressured to do it according to another person’s schedule (usually to the dismay of others who are not as liberated as the one doing the thing.)  –  (Please note that this is very different than saying “ON one’s own time”)

  • In-Person – This is an idiomatic phrasal adjective to describe a meeting of some sort and means that the meeting was not done over the phone, internet, or some other method but the the people involved were physically in the same place together…  “I had spoken to him on the phone a couple of times, but when I finally got to meet him *in-person*, I quickly realized that he was a complete idiot.”  –  (See Also:  “Face-to-Face”)

  • (to be) In The Limelight – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which is used to refer to the world of show-business.  If an actor, actress, singer, musician, politician, reality star, attention-whore, is being talked about, is on lots of talk-shows, making lots of movies or… whatever – we can say that they are “in the limelight”.  The term comes from the fact that, in past, there were lights that were used in Theater and dance-halls that used lime calcium as an ingredient to create very bright light.  These lights were called “lime lights”…  thus the term.

  • (to be) In The Loop – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Adjectival Phrase which means:  “To be kept informed about, or to have special access to, specific and important and/or exclusive information.”…

“If a reporter wants to be successful in his or her career, he or she needs to be in loop about things happening in the areas that they are reporting about.  This gives them an advantage over their competitors and colleagues.”  –  (See Also:  “(to) Keep (someone) In The Loop (about something)


  • (to) Keep (someone) In The Loop (about something) – This an idiomatic phrasal verb which is an informal way of saying:  “To Keep Someone ‘Up to Date‘ about something.”  This phrase is used in an unofficial way…  “Many police detectives have informants who *keep them in the loop* about illegal activity.  Conversely, many criminals are also *kept in the loop* about police activities as well.”

  • (to) Know Every Trick In The Book – This is a verb phrase which is used to describe a person who is so incredibly skilled at something, that it seems that he or she has some secret information or “tricks” that others do not have access to and this is used to the person’s advantage…  “It’s going to be nearly impossible to go up against James in the contract negotiations.  That guy *knows every trick in the book* when it comes to getting what he wants.  It’s like he knows the Jedi Mind Trick or something!”

  • (to) Opt In – This is a phrasal verb which means: To choose the option to participate in something.  (“Opt” is an abbreviation of the word “Option”)…  “It would be nice if website would allow us to *Opt In* rather than forcing us to *Opt Out* when it comes to receiving their newsletter.”  –  (See also “Opt Out“)

  • Partner(s) In Crime – This is an informal noun phrase which can be both literal (people working together to commit crime) or figurative (two people – usually best friends – who spend a lot of time together and like to have lots of fun.)…  “Bonnie and Clyde were very famous American *partners in crime*.”  –  “My friend Jason was my *partner in crime* back in high-school.  We did everything together, and the crazier it was, the more we wanted to do it.”

  • (to) Put All Of (one’s) Eggs In One Basket – This is a phrase which means:  To put (or invest) all of one’s hopes, dreams, resources, energy, etc. “into” only one thing, which, if it fails, would mean that he or she will have lost everything.  Conversely if you spread your hopes, dreams, etc. around – and one thing (investment) fails, then that person will not have lost everything.

“to do things in the proper order”

But, this phrase is less focused on the “foundational” elements of a process, and is used more to say something like:

“Do steps 1, 2, and 3, before moving on the step 4.”

This is indicated by the fact that one must “put the horse in front of the cart” before that one can expect to get the cart moving anywhere.    (See Also“Build The House From The Ground Up”)

(Notice also that the entire Prepositional Phrase is, “In Front Of…” – not merely the single Preposition, “In”)


  • (to be) Shaking In (one’s) Boots – This is an idiomatic adjectival phrase which describes when a person is so filled with fear that they are trembling, shivering, actually shaking…  “When the police asked to search the car, the suspect was *shaking in his boots*.  Since it was summertime and not a cold evening, that was a clear sign to them that he was hiding something.”

  • (to) Sleep In – This is the best part of a day off!  It just means to not get up early and to just keep sleeping until you want to get out of bed, rather than to get up to an alarm…  “I’m sure that we will be pretty tired after the concert tonight.  I’m definitely going to *sleep in* tomorrow.”

  • The Elephant In The Room – This is an Idiomatic Metaphorical Prepositional Phrasal-Noun which is used to refer to some point or some “thing” which should be plainly obvious, is almost always a problem, or absolutely should be addressed, but everyone seems to ignore and will pretend it’s not there – even to the point that they will actually develop a blindness and defense to it, so that pointing “it” out to them, will cause them to become defensive and even confrontational if one does point it out…

“It is amazing to me that almost no one seems to recognize or acknowledge that a gerund is NOT a verb-form, but is actually a phrase which is in reference to an action but is used as a subject with-in a sentence – and therefore acts as a noun.  This is a perfect example of an elephant in the room, because even when pointing is out to other teachers, they will just say,  ‘Well, that is what the text-book says, so that’s what we teach.’…  Idiots!”


  • (to) Tuck In (someone/something) / (to) Tuck (someone/something) In – This is a separable phrasal verb which is usually used to talk about one’s shirt or about one’s children when putting them to bed, however can be used in any situation wherein the “ends” of something need to be secured inside or under something else…  For example, if the bottom of a person’s shirt is outside his or her pants and then he or she puts’s the bottom of the shirt inside his or her pants, we say they are *tucking* their *shirt* in.  For the example of the children in bed – when a parent put’s their children in bed and makes sure that they are all covered up and comfortable, we say they are *tucking* their children *into* bed.

  • (to) Use Every Trick In The Book – This is a verb phrase which is used to say that one uses every technique, tactic, scheme, plan, idea, etc. in order to achieve the fulfillment of some task, usually of which it is thought to be very serious, or which has proven to be quite difficult and/or challenging for the person *using every trick in the book* (the “book” being a reference to the “play-book” that a sports team uses as a reference of techniques in order to triumph over the opponent…  “Hamilton used *every trick in the book* to outsmart his opponent, but in the end, he just couldn’t triumph over the tactical prowess of his opponent.”

–  ( Prepositional Phrases – In )  –

 

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