1. He’s really stubborn in his decision. Vs
    2. He’s really stubborn about his decision.
    1. He’s really unyielding in his decision. Vs
    2. He’s really unyielding about his decision.
    1. He’s really rigid in his decision. Vs
    2. He’s really rigid about his decision.

Is the use of in and about interchangeable?

  • It feels to me like the first version of each can have two meanings, while the second version can only have one of those two meanings. The meaning in all three cases that isn't shared is He really took a stubborn/unyielding/rigid position in the process of making that decision. But I'm not feeling like I can articulate why it feels like the about wording could not have that meaning at this late hour, so just leaving a comment. Should someone else feel like they can articulate it, by all means give the answer. – Ed Grimm Feb 17 '19 at 9:02

You can't be "inside" a decision

You have provided excellent examples of the problems with formal English and colloquial English. I've heard people use all of those six examples, all with the same meaning.

However, you can't be "inside" a decision. There is no definition of the word "in" that means "in consideration of" or "concerning." The closest definition is "to show a state or condition." (Merriam-Webster, preposition, kid's definition 5) But while similar, it's not the same thing.

Therefore, the more precise word to use is "about," meaning "with regard to" or "concerning." (Merriam-Webster, preposition, definition 4a)

Note that colloquially "in" and "about" are interchangeable in your examples. HOWEVER! They are not interchangeable generally. Therefore, the answer to your question, "is the use of in and about interchangeable?" is "no." My recommendation is that you habitually use "about" in those examples.

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