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I feel sometimes "in" seems to be used in the same way as "during", but it's hard to know if that's exactly the case, because the complement is not an event per se.

For example:

Michael collapsed in a shrill cry.

The building collapsed in an explosion.

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Michael collapsed in a shrill cry.

I think in here is kind of like during, because maybe he collapsed while making the sound, but also something like into- like at the end of Michael’s collapsing he let out a shrill cry. Also see the expression collapse in(to) a heap

The building collapsed in an explosion.

I think in is used like during here. During an explosion, the building collapsed.

  • In the first example, you could also think of in as after, which would be the most likely possibility. Michael collapsed after a shrill cry. – Artemis Hunter Mar 18 at 3:38
  • Is "after" one of the possible definition of "in"? – woken Mar 18 at 10:56
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    Woken- yes. Prepositions in English are weird and can mean different things in different contexts. in can mean during or after or any number of things. @Artemis Hunter’s answer makes sense. Kind of the opposite of my interpretation - the collapsing may have come after the cry. I thought it happened before. Probably this all would happen so fast (collapsing tends to be fast) that it would be hard to tell what came first. – Mixolydian Mar 18 at 12:42
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    @Mixolydian You have a valid point. Usually though, collapsing would come after the cry. :P English is a funny language. – Artemis Hunter Mar 20 at 13:03

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