I need help with this particular example: -I will study the effects of the drug at / at the / in / in the short and long term/terms. Can someone tell me which is the right option and why?

  • It would sound better, and avoid confusion, if you rephrased it altogether: I will study the short-term and long-term effects of the drug. Jul 6, 2019 at 3:43
  • 2
    I agree with Jason - otherwise you could say in the short and the long term. The preposition in is usually used to refer to a period of time (at the weekend, but that comes from at the end). We treat short term as a compound, so will try to expand short and long term to short term and long term. That doesn't work with terms (you would have short terms and long terms) so it is better to put term.
    – Minty
    Jul 6, 2019 at 3:50

1 Answer 1


The common preposition with "short/long term" is "in":

In the short term, the solution makes sense, but in the long term it is likely to cause much greater problems.

That being said, I agree with Jason Bassford's comment that you should rephrase the sentence:

I will study the short-term and long-term effects of the drug

There are two reasons for this.

First, it makes the sentence more clear and concise, which is always better when writing for academia.

Second, the phrase "in the short term" refers to a general concept of time span, which does not necessarily relate to the action of a drug. It makes more sense to describe the specific length of time over which you evaluate the drug's effects, rather than the conceptual idea of evaluating over some period of time.

In a different context, however, it would be fine:

In the short term, opioid drugs are very effective in ameliorating moderate to severe pain, but in the long term they carry serious risk of addiction, as well as other side effects.

Or, alternately:

The short-term effects of opioid drugs are inarguably effective; however they carry significant long-term risks.

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