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hello
i would like to know the difference of usage between inside and within, i have asked before to native speakers and i always have different answers and i still cant understand why i can say: inside my head and within my head. are these words synonymous? what s the limit between them? any particular shade of difference?

Estela
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For all practical purposes, the prepositions "inside" and "within" are synonymous. "inside my head" and "within my head" mean the same thing. "inside the box" and "within the box" mean the same thing.

"inside" is a more everyday word; "within" belongs to a slightly higher register and may be regarded as slightly more poetic.

"inside" is often the choice when speaking of spatial relationships (inside the box, inside the house, inside the drawer) ; "within" is more often used figuratively (within the law, within the medical profession, within the arts, within the soul, within my heart).

"inside" can be used with verbs of motion, meaning "into": "Go inside the house". "within" is not as likely to be used this way: "???Go within the house."

CJ
thanks for the interpretationEmotion: wink
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I would like to add to what CalifJim said.
When referring to time, “within” and “inside” are not interchangeable:
“You are supposed to complete it within two hours” is correct but
“You are supposed to complete it inside two hours” is not.
This is news to me, aa. BrE uses often in conjunction with time and NaE does too with the usual addition of -->> inside of two hours.
But look, Just The Truth, I've made a Google search and here are the results:
“within two months” – 468 000 hits;
“inside two months” – 344 hits.
“inside of” wasn’t mentioned in the above question – it was about “within vs. inside”.
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Hi, Attempt!

Yes, I agree with you. "inside of" wasn't mentioned. It was about "within" vs. "inside".
That's why I didn't mention "inside of" in my response.
Nevertheless, JT expanded the discussion to include "inside of", so we've got a sort of bonus from his added contribution.

Jim
Hello CalifJim.

Maybe my post sounded as if I were trying to “restrict” Just The Truth with the boundaries of “within vs. inside” discussion – Good Gracious, no, of course I didn’t mean that. If my post can be read this way, I am sorry for that; it’s just a qui pro quo and what I meant was quite different.

Maybe I ought to be more detailed in my post but I just thought – my point is quite clear as it is if one reads the whole thread in a row. Perhaps you didn’t?
But look, Just The Truth, I've made a Google search and here are the results:
“within two months” – 468 000 hits;
“inside two months” – 344 hits.
“inside of” wasn’t mentioned in the above question – it was about “within vs. inside”.


I appreciate that the original query didn't have 'inside of', AA. However my response noted that, "BrE uses often in conjunction with time".

This was from The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.

TIME a) in less than a particular amount of time.

A full report is expected inside three months.

inside the hour/month etc We'll be back inside the hour.

[+ of] especially AmE.

In the interests of fairness and accuracy, "often" should not have been added for 'within' is clearly preferred for both BrE and NaE.
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