Is there any difference?

Yes, on 23rd, I was working late night (Example is here)


Yes, on 23rd, I was working late at night (Example is here)


Yes, on 23rd, I was working late in night (Example is here though it's a verdict by someone)

To me, the second one seems better but other two don't seem utterly incorrect. Guide me please.

Note: I don't want to get into the nuance of office environment. For that sake, the question can be...

Yes, on 23rd, I was [any verb+ing] late night.

  • 1
    The first example you linked to ("I found myself working late night after night in a vain, numbed-out attempt to catch up with the paperwork I’d missed.") is about [working late] [night after night] [in a vain], which is different from your own example ("Yes, on 23rd, I was working late night"). I'd like to suggest reading en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constituent_%28linguistics%29. Knowing whether a string is a constituent or not could help avoid misinterpreting search results. – Damkerng T. Jul 30 '14 at 14:24

Late night, or usually written late-night is an adjective meaning happening or operating late at night. See for instance macmillan.

Late at night means during some time at night, quite far into it.

So you could describe yourself as a late-night worker (if you do it regularly) or you could simply say you worked late at night. This would mean you worked probably after midnight.

Another common expression is I was working late, one night, which means you were working later than usual (the same way as "he was late" meaning he arrived later than planned), at some point during the night (or evening).

Here night is used to mean evening, as in "the end of the working day", not night as in "when people usually sleep"!

The sentence in your first example gives me the feeling that the writer means indeed just that: she wasn't working late-night (which would indicate she was working after midnight or so), but one evening, she was working later than usual.

Your third version strikes me as Indian English - a turn of phrase like husbands checking their mobile phones in midnight may seem odd to speakers of AmE or BrE. I don't know if the use of in instead of one or at is generally common or accepted in Indian English, but I dare say in AmE and BrE it is probably frowned upon.

  • Yes, on 23rd, I was working late-night is grammatical, isn't it? – Maulik V Jul 30 '14 at 7:03
  • Yes, but it means you were probably working on the 24th. You seem to have a job that involves actual night-time activity. It is not the way to say that you stayed late at the office! – oerkelens Jul 30 '14 at 7:05
  • Think that office is not at all involved here. For that sake, Yes, on 23rd, I was [any verb] late night. Will your entire answer change now? The real question is about late night, late in night and late at night. But thanks...I'm changing the title to avoid confusion. – Maulik V Jul 30 '14 at 7:08
  • I think my answer stays completely the same. They have different meanings, you have to pick the one that fits the meaning you want to convey. – oerkelens Jul 30 '14 at 7:18
  • 1
    "I was working late night" doesn't strike me as grammatical, though "I was working late night after night" is perfectly fine. Late-night with a hyphen would probably only occur attributively, I imagine. – snailcar Aug 29 '14 at 10:35

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