What is the difference in the meaning between two sentences,

1) He was busy in studying.

2) He was busy studying.

Does "1) He was busy in studying" mean "He was busy when he was studying"(for example, When he was studying, his mother called him and his friends called him etc.) ?

Does "2)He was busy studying" mean "He was studying very hard" ?

  • 1
    The difference is that the second sounds idiomatic. The first would be fine if you substituted at for in: He was busy at studying.
    – Robusto
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 5:43
  • Do you have an example using "busy in studying" in a sentence? "Busy with studying" seems possible, but I can't recall hearing "busy in".
    – Andrew
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 6:04
  • In south korea. "be busy in ~ing" phrase is often used. source:: endic.naver.com/…
    – user22046
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 6:21
  • In south korea. We did not distinguish between "in ~ing" and "~ing" so that we very often have been learned that "He was busy in studying" is " "He was busy studying". Many of us have thought that "in" is omitted. kin.naver.com/search/list.nhn?query=busy+in+%7Eing
    – user22046
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 6:33
  • example of "be busy in ~ing" phrase : endic.naver.com/…
    – user22046
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 6:38

1 Answer 1


Yes, those are meanings that the phrases have. In any other situation, one wouldn't say "busy in studying," it's only to show a state of being: studying.

Though saying "busy in" works, English speakers tend to say "busy studying." This is because using the "in" sounds almost too formal for everyday conversation, and people do not bother using sentences in that way.

If you do not know which is most appropriate, just stick with "busy studying" and it will sound good no matter the context.

  • Can you provide a good example of: to be busy IN [verb: ing??]
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 16:44

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