'Within' is also a common word in the English language. Let us see what we can get from it.

How To Use "Within" in English

'Within' can function as both a preposition and an adverb. In this lesson, we will discuss how to learn and use it.

Functions of 'Within'

'Within' as a Preposition

One of the main uses of 'within' is to be a preposition. Below, we are going to learn all about the different kinds of prepositions it can be:


'Within' as a Preposition of Time

'Within' can sometimes be a preposition of time. When we want to show that something will/will not happen during a specific period of time, we use 'within' as a preposition. Look at the following examples:

I know it's hard for you, but you have to hand in your report within five days.

Here, it means that the action must not be done after this time.

In the IELTS exam, you must write an article on the subject within approximately forty minutes.

As you can see, we have a noun phrase after the preposition.

'Within' as a Preposition of Place

We can also use 'within' as a preposition of place. There is a list below to know all about its meanings. Let us study the following examples:

  • When we want to show that something in not farther than a specific distance of something, we use 'within':

He said there's a cheap motel within a few miles of here, so we can spend the night there.

My parents used to live within a mile of this beach.

  • When there is something inside someone/something, we use 'within' to refer to it:

Some days I cry a lot and become extremely emotional, but I always feel a deep strength within me.

The fire spread quickly within the mansion.

  • When something is in the limits of a specific subject, field, etc:

I'm sorry, but this is not within my range of knowledge.

I hate it when I sometimes have to behave within certain societal standards.

Position in a Sentence

Since 'within' is a preposition here, it must always come before nouns or noun phrases to modify them. Let us check out the following examples:

What you're seeking is not within the scope of this discussion.

Sicily is living within a mile of this school, I guess.

'Within' as an Adverb

As stated above, 'within' can also be an adverb. Let us examine the different kinds of adverbs it can be:


'Within' as an Adverb of Place

When we use 'within' as an adverb of place. it only means the inner part of something. Check out the following examples:

I could see people running around and screaming within.

I saw blue smoke coming from within.

Position in a Sentence

As you know, adverbs modify adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs. So, they mainly come after them. Let us look at the following examples:

I could sense danger within.

There were many people dancing within.

Idioms and Expressions with 'Within'

We have a few idioms with 'within' in the English language. Below, we are going to learn all about them:

  • From within: When something happens inside a certain, community, organization, etc.:

If you want to experience real happiness, you'd better start changing from within.

It's better to start destroying everything from within, rather than using outside forces.

  • Within limits: When something can happen but in a limited amount, we use this one:

I can answer your question, but within limits.

Dad said he'd help you with the money, within limits.

  • Within reason, When we want to judge someone, objectively, not emotionally, we use this one:

The minister said he accepts criticism, only within reason.

It's respectful when someone leaves a critical comment within reason.


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