Is "in which" interchangeable with "during which"? I've seen them replaced with each other in videos and articles. But no books explain the question.

  • If the referent is a time period (or something which can be creatively interpreted as such), you can use either preposition, but you can only use in in all other contexts (physical / logical "containment" of one thing within another). Dec 18, 2018 at 15:49
  • As Wilson answered, I think using "in which" and "during which" in the same time period context will not mean the same. Dec 20, 2018 at 15:18
  • Without bothering to think it through (or reader that answer fully and carefully), I wouldn't be surprised if there are contexts where (nearly?) everyone would agree that the choice between in which and during which could affect meaning. But with, for example, I'm talking about the month in / during which the referendum was held, there is no possible distinction - and I would take issue with anyone who claimed that either version should be "preferred" in that specific example. Dec 20, 2018 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


Not always.

in often means within some kind of boundary, but during means within some time frame.

For example "the jar in which I hid your money", or "the country or region in which he spent his childhood". These phrases cannot work with "during which".

As for things which take time, like meetings or weeks, there is sometimes a difference:

  • "the week during which I was sick" could mean I was sick for seven days

  • "the week in which I was sick" could be, I was sick for maybe one day, but I am talking about the whole week surrounding that illness.

But for telic actions (that is, things which happen at once and don't take a long time) that happen inside of a length of time, "in" and "during" can often both work:

  • The business meeting in which he embarrassed himself or the business meeting during which ...

  • The holiday during which I met her or the holiday on which ...

Then there are phrases where you simply need to learn which is the fitting preposition. Usually in that case it will be in. For example:

  • I did it in a grand/selfish/loving manner. The manner in which I did it was ...

  • I looked the monster directly in his third eye. The eye in which I looked him ...

  • I think that last example was a bit silly, I'm sure you can think of a better example
    – OmarL
    Dec 18, 2018 at 15:52
  • Is it possible that they are interchangeable in some other contexts? Dec 18, 2018 at 16:01
  • @RelativeClausesvsParticiple yep, I just explained.
    – OmarL
    Dec 18, 2018 at 16:03
  • Your examples are in descending order of weirdness. That's because a week really is not a location, but a meeting kind of is, and a jar certainly is.
    – OmarL
    Jan 19, 2019 at 10:36
  • @RelativeClausesvsParticiple also, "in which" is not always interchangeable with "where"; consider "the street corner where he was mugged"
    – OmarL
    Jan 19, 2019 at 10:40

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