Is it possible to use 'in presence' instead of 'in person' in statements like the following?

Classes are in person

I ask this because I heard a native speaker (American) (or she claimed to be..) using consistently 'in presence' instead of 'in person'. I am not a native speaker but however I never heard/found 'in presence' to mean 'in person' in statements like this. Unfortunately, I did not ask her to clarify this..

Thank you for your time!

  • 4
    No, you are looking for a translation of presencial or the same in Italian or any other Latin language. We say: on site or in person. She is mistaken, you are right.
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 18:50
  • 6
    I've never heard 'in presence'. Ever. Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 18:50
  • "In presence" is not used in any sort of English that I've ever heard. Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 20:15
  • @Michael Woke Harvey I was in presence in the school.
    – user284747
    Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 20:20
  • @user284747 - you were present at or in the school, or you were at or in the school in person. 'I was in presence in the school' is not correct English. Commented Dec 13, 2021 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


No, the two are not interchangeable.

"In person" (hyphenated when used as an adjective) is an idiomatic way of saying that something was done by someone who was physically present, as opposed to by some remote means of communication. A similar expression is "face-to-face", although the latter tends to exclusively imply an interaction between parties (eg "a face-to-face meeting with my doctor") whereas "in-person" can be used for things like a public appearance in front of an audience (eg "he appeared in-person, on stage").

You can say that something is done "in the presence of [someone]", but it does not have the same meaning - it can just mean that someone, or any number of people, are in the vicinity (eg "in the presence of strangers"). You can also say that "[someone] was present", to mean they were physically there.

  • I'm not sure that "in person" is usually hyphenated. (I'd agree that it's sometimes hyphenated, but not usually so.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 16:38
  • @J.R. It should be hyphenated if used as an adjective, I've updated.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Dec 16, 2021 at 13:14
  • True, but I would forego the hyphen in the example at the end of your first paragraph ("He appeared in person, on stage").
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 11:27

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