I would like to ask which preposition should be used with the word industry in an example as follows.

I have worked at/ in / within the tourism industry for a while.

Is the necessary or does it add extra meaning to the sentence?

  • I don't know the correct answer, but it's definitely not "at".
    – zipirovich
    May 26, 2020 at 17:46
  • You have worked in an industry and you should use "the" because there are many different types of industry. You could say: "I have worked in tourism".
    – anouk
    May 26, 2020 at 18:25
  • When people say “the industry” and don’t specify which, they often mean the industry of pornography production, just by the way. May 27, 2020 at 0:49

2 Answers 2


According to Google Ngram Viewer, in is far more common in print than within, and at doesn't register as used at all:

in the industry versus within the industry versus at the industry

Industry is both a countable noun and a mass noun, but tourism is only a mass noun and cannot be counted.

As such, the following breaks down what's grammatical and what's ungrammatical:

✔ I worked in the tourism industry.
✔ I worked in a tourism industry.
✔ I worked in the industry.
✔ I worked in an industry.
✔ I worked in industry.
✔ I worked in tourism.

✘ I worked in the tourism.
✘ I worked in a tourism.
✘ I worked in tourism industry.

Note that the error of last sentence doesn't logically follow from the syntactic use of industry as a mass noun and tourism as an attributive noun; however, it's simply not idiomatic.

Also note that the grammatical sentences don't all have the same meaning.

If you're talking about the tourism industry in general, which would be more normal than not, using the is the most common way of expressing that.

In short, the following is the most common phrase:

I worked in the tourism industry for a while.


If you can belong to X, in X is a shortcut for saying "belonging to X".

X in *work at X" must be a place, not a group. Destinations such as times, measurements, or goals are also useable with at X.

So you might work at a factory while you are in a training group. Since a factory is something that surrounds you on all sides, you can work in one too, but you can't be at the training group unless you're trying to say you're in the same place as the other members of the group (and even then it's a bit awkward).

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