20 Useful Idioms With The Preposition IN



1. in that

This idiom is used after a statement to introduce an explanation. We choose this idiom to be more formal.
  • He was lucky in that he had a lot of friends in that job.
  • This book is very useful in that it explains everything very clearly.

2. up in the air

If a plan or issue is up in the air, no decision has been made about it yet.
Our wedding plans are still up in the air. That means we have not yet decided what we’ll do.
  • The future of the business is still up in the air.
The phrase up in the air is used to talk about something that is uncertain, often because other matters have to be decided first:

3. in hot water

You are in hot water when you are in trouble because you have done something wrong. That will result in punishment or reprisal. You can be in hot water with the police if you break a law. A person can get into hot water for being late.
  • The doctor was in hot water because he was exposed as a fake.
  • That temper of hers can land her in hot water.
  • The restaurant is in hot water after failing a hygiene inspection.

4. in the nick of time

In the nick of time is used to emphasize something that happens at the last possible moment before a deadline or before something begins or ends. We arrived at the airport in the nick of time. That means we arrived at the airport in just time. The plane is about to take off.
  • I got there just in the nick of time.
  • The ambulance arrived in the nick of time. His life was saved.

5. in full swing

If an event or process is in full swing, it has reached its highest or liveliest level.
  • The party was in full swing by the time we got there.
  • The football season is in full swing.

6. in the bag

If something is in the bag, it is almost certain to be won or achieved. If you say that the game is in the bag, you are certain to win it.
  • The campaign is going well. He thinks the election is in the bag.
  • The contract was finally in the bag after a series of difficult negotiations.

7. in the long run

When you use the expression in the long run you mean that something will happen over a long period of time in the future.
  • These changes will be beneficial to the company in the long run.
  • I know it’s a lot of money to buy our own house but it will be worth it in the long run. Rent is our biggest expense.
  • It involves a lot of hard work but it will be better for you in the long run.

8. late in the day

Late in the day means too late to be useful. It’s used to show disapproval because someone has done something too late.
  • It’s a bit late in the day to voice your objections.
  • It's too late in the day to try to persuade him.
  • Don't you think it's late in the day for an apology?

9. in all weathers

The phrase in all weathers is used to describe doing something in every type of weather, both good and bad. If you go out jogging in all weathers, you do it regularly whether the weather is good or bad.
  • He’s exercising his dogs in all weathers.
  • The street is patrolled all hours, day and night, and in all weathers.

10. in over your head

The phrase in over your head is used when someone is involved in a difficult situation that is beyond their capacity to deal with.
  • After a tough week at the office, I realized I was definitely in over my head.
  • In this business, risks are high. Don’t get in over your head.

11. in the same boat

When two or more people are in the same boat, they are taking part in the same difficult or unpleasant situation. If two friends don’t have any money, they are in the same boat.
  • Please don't be angry with me. We’re all in the same boat here.
  • John and I are unemployed and struggling financially, so we’re both in the same boat.

12. in the line of duty

The phrase in the line of duty is used to indicate that something happens to someone when they are doing their job. Use this phrase to talk about soldiers, police officers, and firefighters. If a firefighter dies in the line of duty, he dies while working
  • A soldier was killed in the line of duty.
  • Two policemen were injured in the line of duty yesterday.

13. in someone’s good/bad books

If you are in someone's good books, you have done something that has pleased them. If you are in someone's bad books, you have done something that has annoyed them.
  • I'm in Mum’s good books at the moment because I helped her clean the house.
  • I think I'm in my boss's bad books. I didn’t finish the project in time, and now he makes my life hell.

14. ants in someone’s pants

The idiom ants in someone’s pants is used when someone is very excited or impatient about something and unable to stay still. If you can’t sit still for a minute, you have ants in your pants.
  • He has ants in his pants. He can hardly wait to go to the beach again.
  • I was looking forward to my vacation and had ants in my pants.

15. in the flesh

If you meet or see someone in the flesh, you meet or see them in real life, rather than talking on the phone, e-mailing, or writing to them. If you get together with someone in the same place, you see them in the flesh. A Face-to-face conversation is an example of what the phrase means.
  • We've spoken on the phone but never in the flesh.
  • I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the queen in the flesh.

16. in the black

Are you in the black? That means you’re not in debt, or you’re earning more money than you spend. If your business is in the black, it’s in a financially profitable condition. This idiom is the opposite of being in the red, which means to owe more money than you have.
  • It took the company five years to move the accounts in the black.
  • All her hard work paid off and she’s finally in the black.

17. in two minds

If you're in two minds about something, you can't decide what to do, especially when you have to choose between two options. Use this phrase when you are not certain about something. If you are in two minds about a book, you don’t know if you like it or not. The phrase of two minds is also used in North American English.
  • He is in two minds about accepting the job in San Francisco.
  • I was in two minds whether or not to go to college.

18. the ins and outs

The ins and outs means the detailed facts of something. If you know the ins and outs of something, you know all the facts and details about it.
  • It will take you some time to learn the ins and outs of the job.
  • I’ll explain the ins and outs of the system next time.

19. a flash in the pan

A flash in the pan means a sudden success that is unlikely to be repeated or to last. If you say something or someone was a flash in the pan, you mean that they were popular or successful for a very short time only.
  • Unfortunately, his success was just a flash in the pan.
  • The book's success was not a flash in the pan. It sells a lot of copies.

20. a shot in the arm

You can say something is a shot in the arm if it gives you encouragement or help in a difficult situation.
  • This investment should be a shot in the arm to the industry.
  • His pre-match talk was a real shot in the arm for all of us.