Ginsberg and Power were friends and, briefly, lovers. The piece is both raw and complex in thinking through their friendship and how we mourn.Source

What does this "in" mean?

As a sidenote, I don't know how the lover is used here. Is the word used like this in a friendly meaning? Not a serious love relationship?

  • Lol. Off-topic. Really?
    – Adil Ali
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:18
  • Thanks for the edit. It's clear what you're asking about now.
    – user230
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:21
  • 3
    "Lovers" -- when describing a relationship between two people -- is always going to imply a sexual relationship.
    – relaxing
    Mar 20, 2014 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


The in stands for something like "in that it is", "while", "as it is" or "when" in this sentence.

The mentioned complexity and rawness are found in how the said piece "thinks" through their friendship and how we mourn.

The "thinking through" would give me more trouble in understanding the sentence, honestly, but in the context I assume the writer means that the piece shows how the author reminisces about the friendship and explores how we mourn.

Basically, the reason to call the piece raw and complex is the way it deals with their friendship and the way we mourn. We don't know whether it is raw or complex when it talks about other subjects. Actually, we don't even know if the piece deals with any other subjects. Obviously, the writer of the article thought these two themes were the most important - and they make the piece raw and complex.

As to you sidenote: I have no reason to believe that the word "lovers" is used here to indicate anything else than the fact the two people mentioned were involved in a romantic relationship. It doesn't necessarily mean they were in love or that they felt they had a meaningful, long-lasting relationship, by the way. "Briefly, they were lovers" basically means that they were romantically involved for some short period of time.

  • "in that it is" or "when" convey more or less the same meaning in this case. "While" would also fit.
    – oerkelens
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:33
  • see my edit, I hope it clarifies it a bit. :)
    – oerkelens
    Mar 20, 2014 at 14:44
  • 1
    @DamkerngT. Locatives may be used metaphorically, and pretty interchangeably, in speaking of any domain which may be thought of (or actually represented) spatially or temporally. For instance, numbers are neither spatial nor temporal; but in looking at a graph of a function we might say "Look, here, at the spike when the x-value passes from 1 to 1.5". In here may be paraphrased "at those points in the (?text/film?) when (or where) it is addressing ...". Mar 20, 2014 at 19:25
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    @DamkerngT, oerkelens: Given that "the piece" here is entirely concerned with "thinking through their friendship and how we mourn", it's probably fair to say in thinking through... here equates to in how it thinks through... (or as it thinks through). But for what it's worth, I personally think the phrasing is a bit clumsy. Mar 20, 2014 at 21:49
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    @oerkelens: I wouldn't like to have to explain exactly why, but I don't find your "She is irresistible in being so pretty and adorable" idiomatically acceptable phrasing at all. Mar 20, 2014 at 21:51

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