I'm confused about when to use in and when to use at.

Here's an example of a phrase I use in email communication:

Please find the daily report at attachment.

Is "at attachment" correct, or should I say "in attachment"? (Also, should I add "the" in front of "daily report"?)

  • Welcome to ELL, but you have made the same mistake as when you posted previously at EL&U: there are too many questions here. The Stack Exchange model works best when there is one answerable question per post. I strongly recommend you visit the Help Center for guidance on how to use this site, which is a question-and-answer site rather than a traditional discussion forum. – choster Oct 28 '13 at 2:03
  • I regard them all as usage of preposition. And thats why i quote them all in one question. :'( – Ray-Von-Mice Oct 28 '13 at 2:36
  • 1
    Ray, welcome to ELL! As RegDwight told you when you posted this question on ELU, this is many questions in one. You should only post one question in each post (though you are more than welcome to post multiple questions!). I am going to edit this question so that it only asks 1 question. You may re-ask the others if you like. Questions 1 and 2 were similar, so I've kept them as one question here. If I have misstated your questions in my edit, please let me know. – WendiKidd Oct 28 '13 at 2:40
  • 2
    @Ray-Von-Mice That makes them related questions, but it doesn't make them the same question. – snailcar Oct 28 '13 at 3:36
  • Some definitions list more than a dozen defintions for at, and more than 20 definitions for in. We are not going to deliniate between all of those (sometimes overlapping) usages and definitions in a single Stack Exchange question. A question like "When do I use in, and when do I use at?" will be closed as being too broad. That's what dictionaries are for. However, if you have a question about a particular usage, you may inquire about that here. – J.R. Oct 28 '13 at 9:26

Concerning the article, I would include it. In fact, I would write:

Please find the daily report in the attachment.


You can find the daily report in the attached file.

When I think of the word in used without an article, I think of phrases such as in love, in jest, in concert. In such cases, the word in essentially means "in a state of."

However, when using the word in to mean "inside of something," I would normally expect to see an article: in the house, in a box, in the file, and in the attachment.

Concerning which article to use, I would favor in over at. However, we are dealing with bits stored in cyberspace, where locations are a bit muddled, so my ears aren't all that much bothered by using at, either.

Where can I find the daily report? I can find it at the attachment.

As I said, I much prefer in, but I don't find at to be utterly unacceptable.

  • As a computer programmer I would recommend using "in the attachment" cause attachment here is a box of data. The usage of attachment is only a box of extra things that you want your recipient to take with the message. Which also requires an extraction from mail when recipient wants to see what's in it. – Berker Yüceer Oct 28 '13 at 9:57
  • Cheers guys, your answers really help. – Ray-Von-Mice Oct 28 '13 at 23:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.