In, Inside, Into, Within – Difference + Examples

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In, Inside, Into, Within - Difference + Examples Espresso EnglishThis is a free sample from the e-book  600+ Confusing English Words Explained. It will help clear up your doubts about how to use English words correctly, so that you can speak and write more confidently. Click here for more information!

In and Inside

In and inside are the same in many cases. You can say:

  • We are in the house.
    = We are inside the house.
  • The clothes are in the closet.
    = The clothes are inside the closet.

The word inside implies that the thing is physically enclosed – it is in a container (a box, a vehicle, a building with walls, etc.)

This means that when talking about location, time, being included, or other situations where you are not physically surrounded, you should use in, not inside:

  • I live in Australia.
  • My birthday is in July.
  • He plays guitar in a band.


The word into implies movement or transformation:

  • She jumped into the swimming pool.
  • We went into the house.
  • The car crashed into a telephone pole.
  • The caterpillar turned into a butterfly.

With the verbs put, throw, drop, and fall, you can use either into or in:

  • He put the card into/in his pocket.
  • I threw the paper cup into/in the trash.
  • She lost her balance and fell into/in the river.


The word within means “inside the limits” – and in this case the limits are non-physical. They can be limits of time or distance, or an area of understanding:

  • The results will be delivered within fourteen days.
  • Most car accidents occur within five miles of home.

We also have some expressions using within:

  • within earshot = at a distance where you are able to hear something (such as a conversation)
  • within reason = to the degree that good judgment would allow
  • within reach / within one’s grasp = able to be taken with your hand, or able to be accomplished

You can also use within to describe a person’s inner feelings (in this case, you can also use “inside”):

  • He tried to hide the anger burning within/inside him.

Learn more prepositions of place in English

This is a free sample from the e-book:

In, Inside, Into, Within - Difference + Examples Espresso English

Click here to learn more about this e-book