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Is there any difference between in the start of something and at the start of something? Not long ago I would've thought that in the start of was incorrect, but in the 11th episode of the 6th season of Friends Joey said exactly that. Here it is:

Joey: That’s right! I helped you guys out a lot in the start of your relationship. Huh? I helped you guys sneak around for like six months, and I looked like an idiot! And I was humiliated. And I only made 200 dollars!

Would the meaning of the sentence change, if he said at the start of?

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A good question! Normally in the start of would be incorrect. But Joey is speaking informally. If he said at the start of, it would mean at the very beginning of; but when he says in the start of, he means something like in the early stages of. So not only at the very beginning, but for some time after that too. (For like six months.)

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  • I don't agree with the second sentence in this answer. Why would in the start normally be incorrect? I also don't agree that it needs to only be informal. If you deleted the second and third sentences (or expanded on them to make them more than just a personal assertion), I'd have no problem with this answer. – Jason Bassford Jun 3 at 22:47

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