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Which one is correct?

What is the proper size of a grocery store within / in a compound that has 600 apartments.

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  • Don't forget the articles for "grocery store" and "compound".
    – user3169
    Mar 28, 2017 at 1:27
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    If you are talking about a smaller area inside a larger area, use within. If you are talking about location, use in. You example could be understood as either one, without more context.
    – user3169
    Mar 28, 2017 at 5:38

1 Answer 1

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Both forms are possible.

  • Within
    Mostly means inside or not further than an area or border.
  • In
    Mostly indicates inclusion, location, or position within limits. It also indicates that someone or something belongs to or is included as part of something.

You could also try inside and on the inside of with your sentence. I prefer "in" or "inside" though:

What is the proper size of a grocery store in (inside, situated, belongs to, is a part of) a compound that has 600 apartments.

With within it sounds like it's situated somewhere on the inside of the compound; it is in there somewhere.

See definitions of "within" here: Cambridge Dictionary.

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    I disagree with your definition of "within." If something is "within a compound," it will always be inside it, not close to it. The Cambridge definition is vague, but consider within (prep.) def. 1 (Oxford Dictionaries); within (prep.) def. 1 (Merriam-Webster); and def. 3 (Macmillan) which do not support "within" meaning "close to (a place)."
    – LMS
    Mar 28, 2017 at 12:41
  • @LMS You are very right here, I've slightly misunderstood "within" "The shop is withing 5 meters of the road" is quite natural. So within means a range or a border too. A compound is a range all by itself already. Mar 28, 2017 at 12:46

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