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Which preposition do we use? Which one is better here?

John Smith, Process Engineer at the Quality Assurance Department.
John Smith, Process Engineer of the Quality Assurance Department.
John Smith, Process Engineer in the Quality Assurance Department.

This is from a table in an MS Word document. The column lists the names of employees who took part performing a particular task. Jonh Smith works in the QA Dept., another employee works for the same company, but in the Production Department, and so on.

I know that if it were the name of a company, not division, then we would use at. But maybe of is allowed (or even preferred) when we talk of a division or department.

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  • @JavaLatte - ah! It never occurred to me. I'll add it now Apr 9, 2017 at 10:28

1 Answer 1

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The normal choice is "in the department".

But if there is only one person in the role, then it could be of.

...an engineer in the department

...Lead Engineer of|in|for the department

but "head of the department". We don't ever say "head in the department", but we could say "head of communications in the department".

So, if we were to encounter the phrase "Process Engineer of the department", we might reasonably assume that Process Engineer is a role occupied by a single person, comparable to Lead Engineer. That would be the implication of of. For example, there might be a law governing pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, say, which mandates that the QA Department designate a Process Engineer.

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