I was writing a classified for a company, but I got confused between two different usage of 'search'.

Read the following sentences:

If you're in search of a quality marketing company, then your search ends here!

If you're in search for a quality marketing company, then your search ends here!

Now, I want to know what native speakers say about the usage in above written sentences. Are they both okay? Why?

Thanks for your help.

  • 1
    The correct phrase is "in search of".
    – Khan
    Feb 9, 2015 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


The first sentence, using "in search of", is the correct one.

  1. "in search of" is an idiomatic phrase, equivalent to "searching for". These mean the same thing:

    I am in search of a good pair of shoes.

    I am searching for a good pair of shoes.

  2. "in search for" is not strictly correct English; there should be an article ("a" or "the") before "search". Leaving articles out is common when trying to be brief, like in news headlines, as seen in Maulik V's answer:

    FBI involved in search for brothers missing in Matamoros.

    The FBI is involved in the [or a] search for two brothers who are missing in Matamoros.

These other two cases are not directly relevant to your specific question, but may help to clarify general uses of "search of/for", when not preceded by "in".

  1. "search for X" means that X is the thing you're trying to find.
  2. "search of X" means that X is the location where you're searching.

    My sunglasses are missing. A search of my car did not find them. The search for my sunglasses is still going.


Ah, the word 'search' is typically a noun! But then, idiomatically, it can be used as a 'verb'.

The American Heritage Idioms Dictionary defines it:

Looking for, seeking, as in They went to California in search of gold, or I went to the library in quest of a quiet place to read.

On the other hand, in search for is possible but it's probably used in headlines or in the context where the 'search' has begun for something missing. This may include some illegal things/people, conspiracy etc.

For instance,

FBI Involved in Search for Brothers Missing in Matamoros.

Another one...

Help sought in search for a man suspected in...

So, to answer, better go with 'in search of'... hoping that your company does all good activities! :P

  • 1
    Both of the "in search for" examples are Headline-ese - they sound fine in that context, but would make a reader stumble if they were used in otherwise regular prose.
    – Adam
    Feb 18, 2015 at 21:39

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