A car raced around (in) the parking basement.

  • Is "in" necessary if it's known that the car is in the parking basement already?

  • Should I include it anyway to make it clear that the car didn't race around it outside?

  • Is there another and more natural way to write the sentence where there's no unclarity?

  • Without in, it's strongly implied that the car raced in every part of the basement. And if it had been an "above ground level, potentially accessible by vehicles" location, such as a park, it would be ambiguous as to whether the car raced within the park or around the outside perimeter. With in, the car might feasibly only have "raced around" in one small part of the specified area, rather than throughout. Mar 30, 2023 at 14:37

3 Answers 3


"A car raced around the parking basement".

is actually saying around the perimeter of the basement, which is usually impossible given the way parking garages are built.

Like: the car raced around the track


A car raced around in the parking basement.

just tells you where it was racing around.

Like: A car was racing around in the parking lot.

race around is phrasal verb. And "in the x" tells us where this was occurring or occurred.


If you mean it was inside, yes, I think you should include "in", for the reason you mention.
The phrase "around in the basement of the parking garage" might be clearer, if that's what you meant.


Without “in”, the sentence is ambiguous. Both versions are grammatical.

We sometimes accept ambiguity because it’s clear from context which version is meant or because only one meaning isn’t absurd.

Neither applies to this sentence standing alone. We have no context, and neither possibility is absurd, so the reader has no way to decide which meaning was meant. To be understood, you need to explicitly specify whether the racing is inside or outside.

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