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Example:

"Did you notice anything unusual in the cows during the day?"

"Did you notice anything unusual about the cows during the day?"

What's the correct wording? And why?

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  • Both are correct, but have slightly different meanings. "In" pertains to something intrinsic, something "personal", whereas "about" relates to the vicinity, outward behavior. Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 15:38
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    Having thought more about it, I'd probably say that, when speaking of cows, people are unlikely to say in, and more likely to say about, since we can't really easily judge the mental or even physical state of another being, let alone of a different species. So, "about the cows" is probably more correct. Commented Oct 5, 2015 at 17:37

1 Answer 1

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Did you notice anything unusual about the cows during the day?

is correct. See about:

  1. in connection with; pertaining to" ⇒ the most interesting thing about her"

in the cows is more like something inside the cows. But you could say:

Did you notice anything unusual in the barn during the day?

You could also use with. See with:

5b. regarding; concerning" ⇒ with him, life is always a struggle"

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