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Ghee is used to cook the curry in.
Ghee is used to cook in the curry.

Which one is more common?
Are there different meanings between these two sentences?

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  • The chicken is fried in oil. Oil is used to fry the chicken in [awkward]. Oil is used to fry in the chicken [ungrammatical]. Coriander is an ingredient in the curry. Coriander is used in the curry. May 13 '16 at 11:55
  • I think you (naykhit) should tell us more about what you are trying to say. There are many ways we might "cook in" something. We can cook something in a pot; we can cook something in a stew; we can cook a flavor into a dish; we can cook inside instead of outside, or at home instead of going out to eat. These are all possible nuances of cook in. Maybe you should tell us more about your intended meaning.
    – J.R.
    May 13 '16 at 14:29
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To me, they have very different meanings.

Ghee is used to cook the curry in.

is perfectly normal, and means that the Ghee is the medium in which the curry is cooked, not just an ingredient (the curry is cooked in the ghee)

Ghee is used to cook in the curry.

is awkward, and not very clear, but I would take it to mean that ghee is simply one ingredient (the ghee is in the curry).

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  • +1. But the second one is not at all idiomatic to my ear. I would omit "to cook" for the sense "is an ingredient". Ghee is used in the curry. May 13 '16 at 11:52
  • @TRomano: that's why I said it was awkward and not very clear. I agree with you.
    – Colin Fine
    May 13 '16 at 11:53
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    And that's why I said +1. :) But I think it goes beyond "not very clear" to ungrammatical. May 13 '16 at 11:56
  • Interesting. I hadn't thought about other ways we might use cook in. I had assumed the original meant Ghee is used to enhance the curry flavor (i.e., to "cook it into" the dish). I've requested more information.
    – J.R.
    May 13 '16 at 14:30
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I can't tell you which one is more common, but they both seem to have the same meaning to me.

Some might say that the second one would be better in formal writing (such as a cookbook), because there is sometimes a negative stigma attached to ending a sentence with a preposition. Whether or not that's good grammatical advice is up for debate – although there are plenty of cases where doing so is just fine (particularly when using phrasal verbs), this happens to be a case where restructuring the sentence does not make it sound awkward or clunky.

Conversationally, though, I'd say either one is just fine.


Footnote: I recommend this post for further reading on the preposition debate.

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