According to Longman Contemporary Dictionary, out of is used to show how large a part of a group you are talking about, e.g.

Nine out of ten students pass the test first time.

However, I read the following sentence in an English book:

One in five fathers will be househusbands, while the mothers go out to work.

Can the word in be replaced with out of here? And would there be a difference in meaning?

  • 1
    in only works with "one". "one in five fathers" but "two/three/four/five out of five fathers". "one in ten students" but "two/three (etc.) out of ten students". out of can also be used with one, though. – user3169 Oct 12 '18 at 5:15

There is a more exact use of "out of", when the total figure is known, e.g. out of 392 students, 46 were left-handed, however "in" and "out of" are often used interchangeably to talk about a fraction or percentage of a population or total.

| improve this answer | |

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.