What Part of Speech is “IN”


In the English language, the word “in” has multiple functions. It can serve as a noun, a preposition, an adverb, and an adjective.

  1. Noun

This word can be categorized as a noun, if it is used to mean a leverage or an influential ability. Take for example, this sentence:

Sophie has an in with the president because she is married to the president’s son.

In this sentence, the word serves as a noun which means influence.

a. one who is in office or power or on the inside

  • Example:
  • When you’re trying to get started in the industry, it helps to have an in.

b. influence; pull

  • Example:
  • They must have an in with the manager.


   2.    Preposition

Sometimes, the word “in” can also be classified under prepositions, when it is used to express a period of time, indicate a location, show that an object is within something, indicate instrumentality, or specify a particular ratio. Look at the sample sentence below:

The Beatles were very popular in the 1960s.

The word “in” is used as a preposition that indicates the period of time.

a. used to indicate location or position within something

  • Example:
  • The cupcakes are in the container.

b. expressing a period of time during which an event takes place

  • Example:
  • They met in 1945.

c. used as a function word to indicate inclusion, location, or position within limits

  • Example:
  • He got wounded in the leg.

d. used as a function word to indicate means, medium, or instrumentality

  • Example:
  • The text was written in pencil.

e. used as a function word to indicate the larger member of a ratio

  • Example:
  • The disease affects three in 100,000 children.

   3.    Adverb

In some cases, the word “in” is considered as an adverb, if it is used to modify a verb or an adjective. For example, as in the sentence below:

Peter’s dad walked in.

The word “in” modifies the verb”walked,” and is therefore categorized as an adverb.

a. to or toward the inside especially of a house or other building

  • Example:
  • Please come in.

b. to or toward some destination or particular place

  • Example:
  • He flew in on the first plane.

c. so as to incorporate

  • Example:
  • Mix in the flour and eggs.

   4.    Adjective

There are also other times wherein the word “in” is considered as an adjective because it describes a noun or a pronoun. For instance, in the sentence:

Beards are in.

The word “in” is categorized as an adjective that describes the noun “beards.”

a. keenly aware of and responsive to what is new and fashionable

  • Example:
  • It’s what the in crowd is wearing this season.

b. extremely fashionable; the in thing to do; the in place to go

  • Example:
  • Pastels and light colors are in this year.
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