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Consider you are in a meeting. The meeting is going to continue for the next several hours. Therefore, some breaks have been devised in order to let people refresh themselves.

Now consider a brief conversation between two guys sitting near each others:

A: Did you notify C that you would be here until 9:00 ?

B: I will call him ........... the next break.

Which one of the prepositions listed below is the best choice?

  • within
  • during
  • in
  • over

My interpretation:

Using Ngram, I can easily rule out "over" and "within" although I have no idea why they are wrong.

Now, the question is what is the difference between "in" and "during" in that context?

  • These guys are in a meeting but can never be in a break. That's a clue that is. – Joe Dark Aug 23 '16 at 16:20
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    Idiomatically, I'll do it over / within the next X are normally only used in contexts where X = a span of time (eg: I'll do it within the next hour). If you say you'll do it over the next hour, you're implying you may spend most or all of that hour doing it, but within, in, and to a lesser extent during don't necessarily imply that (perhaps when you finally do "do it", it'll only take a few seconds). – FumbleFingers Aug 23 '16 at 16:32
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    It's interesting how that Ngram changes when you change break to hour – J.R. Aug 23 '16 at 20:46
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Because you're talking about [either or both] a particular period of time and something that happens within the same time frame as another event, the only correct answer is "during". If you'd like to learn more about this, visit the intermediate English grammar lesson on Speakspeak for prepositions of time lesson.

  • "During" is the best answer. Colloquially, any of those will work and be understood. – MikeP Aug 23 '16 at 17:17

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