In or At The Beginning

You want to refer to the start of an action or event, but you're uncertain if you should say in the beginning or at the beginning?

"In" or "At The Beginning" in the English grammar

Which One Should Be Used?

Both 'in the beginning' and 'at the beginning' are correct, but they are not interchangeable. There is a distinct difference between them that even native speakers may confuse and misuse.

In the beginning

'In the beginning' is used to show the start of a period of time. The exact time of this start is unknown and we do not specify it. It is also used to show the placement of something and it is mainly used to contrast two situations. This phrase originates from the Book of Genesis in the Bible. Have a look:

In the beginning, there weren't much to work with and we built everything from scratch.

In the beginning, no one could tell what he meant but when he showed a picture, we all understood.

At the beginning

We use 'at the beginning' to talk about the starting point of something. It also refers to the placement of something. Take a look at the following examples:

At the beginning there was nothing but chaos.

Here, we are referring to starting point of something.

We don't use comma at the beginning of the sentence.

Here, we are talking about the placement of comma in a sentence.


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