Usage example with a context:

Example #1:

Those behind the killing were in Russia and even in government, he said separately in a BBC interview.

Example #2:

"I believe that the organisers of the murder are in Russia and I believe that they are in the Russian government," he added.

Why do you think in the first example they say in government without the, but in the second example, they have added it back in?

  • 1
    Both cited examples are "standard". It would be "non-standard" (though not necessarily completely unacceptable) to include the article in #1, but omitting it in example #2 would always be taken as "evidence of non-native speaker" (particularly, a Russian native, since they're "stereotypically" prone to make that specific mistake). Commented Mar 9, 2015 at 16:42

1 Answer 1


In [noun] describes the subject's state, here're a few examples:

  1. The ball is in motion
  2. He is in trouble
  3. Please help these children in need
  4. Since losing money, we have found ourselves in poverty
  5. I work in finance

The sentence "Those behind the killing were in Russia and even in government" describes the killers' state as "in government". They are elected officials, which is a different state than being a civilian. Think of this use of 'state' as being a way to describe things without using adjectives. The first sentence describes their role in the government as being a key feature of the killers, whereas the second sentence mentions the killers' ties to the government as a related but separate fact.

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