Here are two sentences. 1. What are you doing in here? 2. What are you doing here?

What is the difference between the two sentences? (between No,1 and No,2 sentences)

Is there any grammar to omit preposition like above?

  • Here and there may be used as stand-alone locatives or directionals (John is here / Why did you fly there?), but may also be used after relevant prepositions to add specifics about the location / journey (John is not in here / Why did you fly down there?) Feb 23, 2015 at 9:49

3 Answers 3


Very straightforward:

"What are you doing in here?" - the person addressed is in a contained space (a room, a house, an apple orchard, a prison) and the questioner, for whatever reason is asking why. It might also be that the questioner has found an unexpected reference or picture in a book or newspaper & is asking about it ("Oh look, here's a photo' of you in the New York Times. What are you doing in here?" - although this is less likely). "What are you doing in here?" tends to be slightly accusatory - the person addressed is, perhaps, somewhere (s)he shouldn't be ("Boy! These are toilets are for the female staff & pupils. What are you doing in here?").

"What are you doing here?" - the question might be asked to someone you meet hillwalking in Cumbria or anywhere; inside or out. It may be accusatory or a perfectly friendly greeting ("My goodness, the last time I saw you was 5 years ago. This is fantastic. What are you doing here?")

Hope this helps



You can omit in in your example and have it remain grammatical.

You can not necessarily do the opposite:

What are you doing in here?

This implies that the person being addressed is inside something. It could be a room, a building, a car etc...

What are you doing here?

This is just a general place. It could still be a room, building or car but it can also be a park, a city, etc.

If you replace the word here with a more specific place name, though, you probably can't remove the word in.

What are you doing in this room?

What are you doing in Rome?

What are you doing in the car?


It depends on two things:

  • where does "here" refer to? (in the kitchen? in the basement? on a faraway island? in a hospital room?)
  • what is the emotion in the statement? (surprise? anger?).

Sometimes either one will work, and sometimes one may sound more appropriate than the other.

For example, suppose a bride is putting on her makeup before the ceremony, and is startled by her groom (note that in some cultures it's considered bad luck for the bride and groom see each other before the ceremony on the wedding day).

She might say:

What are you doing here? (i.e., why are you here in my presence?)


What are you doing in here? (i.e. why are you in this room?)

Either one works fine, really; they both express a bit of shock because she's seen her groom when she wasn't expecting to.

However, let's say I'm at an airport in Denver waiting for my connecting flight back home. I look up and see Bob, my coworker, walking down the concourse. I didn't know Bob was traveling this week! I'd probably say:

Bob! What are you doing here?

I wouldn't say "in here" in that case. "In here" would mean "here in the airport". I can guess why he's at the airport – he's there to catch a flight. I'm just expressing some surprise that our paths happen to be crossing unexpectedly so far away from home.

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