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I have two questions about these sentences. What other prepositions can I use instead of "at" in my sentence? Can I also use "in" "during" and "on"? and if I mention the lecturer and my exam for the first time, however it's the lecturer who was asking me questions and it's one of the exams I had, should I use the definite or the indefinite article before "lecturer" and "exam"?

  1. "I answered the lecturer's question at/in/on/during the exam".

  2. "The lecturer asked me questions at/in/during/on the exam." Would it be possible to use "a" before "lecturer"?

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    If you are mentioning the exam for the first time, wouldn't you call it 'my French oral exam' (or whatever the subject was), rather than the vague 'an exam'? I think you should use the for both. An oral exam would be expected to have a person appointed to ask the questions. May 22 at 8:54
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Articles are used to indicate whether a noun in a sentence is specific or general. Ref grammarly.com

"a" is used for a general statement I picked up a bottle of coke (any bottle).

"The" is used for specific items The bottle was half full. (This particular bottle is half full).


If you make the sentence specific you must use "The"

  1. "I answered the lecturer's question during the exam" only during is correct in this case

  2. "The lecturer asked me questions in/during the exam." at/on are not correct


If you wish to use "a" you need to restructure the sentences

  1. "I answered some questions that a lecturer asked me during an exam" only during is correct in this case (you did not know who the lecturer was and the sentence is non specific).

  2. "A lecturer asked me some questions in/during an exam." at/on are not correct (you did not know who the lecturer was and the sentence is non specific).


In an exam, (part of the exam (test) that you are taking but not your reaction/answer to that exam (TEST)). Example; A question in an exam; "The lecturer asked me questions in the exam."

During an exam (something that happened or you did during an exam). Example; During the exam, I only managed to answer 18 questions; I answered the lecturer's question during the exam"

On; "The lecturer asked me questions on Napoleon during the exam." (on a subject)

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  • Why is it wrong to use "in" in 1? 1. "I answered the lecturer's question during the exam" only during is correct in this case" May 22 at 10:04
  • Is it wrong to use "in"? "I answered the lecturer's question during the exam." May 22 at 10:10
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    You have to reflect on what you are doing. Are you in an exam? No you are in an examination room. So what forms part of that examination is in the exam. The questions set by the examiner are in the exam. Your answers/replies are something you did during the examination.
    – Brad
    May 22 at 10:11
  • I read that "In the exam there was a question about ... can be interpreted differently (e.g. during, at, in the course ) May 22 at 10:25
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    If "in" in some cases is used to mean "during" Correct; but it is related to period of time. "I answered the lecturer's question during the exam" this relates to a specific action not a period of time. The second example "The lecturer asked me questions in/during the exam." Relates to what you were doing during the period of time of the examination.
    – Brad
    May 22 at 10:38

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