Could anyone please let me know of using "in" and "available" mean the same in the sentence below? It strikes me as if "in" is less formal than "available".

Helen: Midtown Computer Solutions, Helen speaking. How can I help you?
Ryan: Hello, this is Ryan Bardos. May I speak with Natalie Jones, please?
Helen: One moment please – I’ll put you through.
Helen: Mr. Bardos? I’m afraid, she is not ........ at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?

a. in
b. available


1 Answer 1


Yes, 'in' is less formal, and also someone could be 'in' (i.e. present in the location) but not able or willing to speak at the time, so saying 'not available' is often used to indicate that the call cannot be connected without revealing anything to the caller about the desired person's presence or willingness to speak. In my office we often say 'I'm afraid Natalie is in a meeting, can she call you back?', even when Natalie is two metres away and furiously shaking her head.

  • It is not quite clear for me yet @Michael Harvey! Do you mean that aside from formality and in/out matter where "in" can be used in another case too, there is no other nuance between them?
    – A-friend
    Jun 21, 2020 at 18:10

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