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Is it ok to use an "in" before "in vitro", or other Latin-derived phrases that start with "in"?

For example, could you say "there's been a lot of advances in in vitro fertilization lately"?

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Not only is it acceptable, you can find several instances of that exact phrase in the scientific literature. –  J.R. Apr 11 '13 at 0:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

English has compound words that have an space where one might otherwise see a hyphen. Since in vitro is a loanword which behaves as a single lexeme, use it as such.

For purposes of euphony and clarity, I'd probably word it "advances within [the field of] in vitro fertilization".

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It offends no principles of grammar or good usage that I am aware of, but if it discomfits you, try saying instead "in fertilization in vitro".

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If I heard someone say "in fertilization in vitro", I would suspect they were a non-native speaker. Also, Andrew Grimm, I think you'd want to say, 'There have been a lot of advances in in vitro fertlization." (Not has.) –  JLG Apr 11 '13 at 18:09
    
@JLG I understand why you would want Andrew to say "have been," but consider that the object is "a lot," not "advances," and "a lot" is singular, unless we're using the British mode, in which case I think the plural verb is used with "a lot" as a collective noun. (Not being British, I'm not quite sure of that point.) –  John M. Landsberg Apr 12 '13 at 6:40
    
@John M. Landsberg, In this case, what follows "a lot" is not an uncountable noun, so it needs a plural verb. I agree if the sentence were, instead, something like "There has been a lot of talk.", with an uncountable noun following "a lot," then the singular is used. –  JLG Apr 12 '13 at 20:24

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