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I'm a beginner at learning English now I'm so confused with the usage of the preposition 'in' in a sentence

For example:

  • I'm in good shape
  • I'm a good shape
  • This is a different size
  • This is different in size

Please, help me understand.

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  • Thank you very much for the correction. I didn't even realize what i wrote it down incorrectly . ;;; Jun 2, 2017 at 10:17

1 Answer 1

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  1. To be "in good shape" is an idiom. To be in good shape means to be physically fit and healthy. It can an element of attractiveness or desirability implied, too.
  2. "a good shape" is a judgement on something's form or... well... shape. If used to describe a human it is similar to "in good shape", but it is really more describing the actual shape. Hourglass shaped, pear shaped, triangle shaped, rectangle shaped... etc.
  3. "This is a different size" is something you would say when you encounter an object that is similar to another object, but bigger or smaller. Think about trying on a jacket in a store: you try on one that is too big, so the shop assistant brings you another one to try and says: "This one is a different size."
  4. "This is different in size" means almost the same thing, but it sort of implies that there are other dimensions that could be different as well. Think about the jacket in the store. The shop assistant brings you yet another option: "This one is different in size and color."
    • You might also use this phrase to emphasize that while the size is different, the fabric (for example) is the same. "While this one is different in size, it's still tweed." However, there's nothing stopping you from saying "This one is a different size, but the same fabric" or similar. I think it's just a bit of an idiomatic quirk.
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  • Thank you very much for the specific answer. still confused a bit with that . But it is very helpful for me! Jun 2, 2017 at 10:19
  • @EunsimKang yes, they are a little similar in meaning and sort of confusing. You will be understood no matter which you use, though - the differences are subtle and most native speakers will get the idea. Jun 2, 2017 at 13:54

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