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“At” or “in” the office?

I am a little confused about which preposition should be used here as in the title. I prefer to use in office. But how about the other one? Are both correct or not?

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Looks like an exact duplicate to me. –  Monica Cellio Jun 19 '11 at 15:56
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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt Oct 18 '12 at 10:13

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'd use them more or less like this:

  • "in office" = "having taken up their official position" (e.g. as an MP, president...)
  • "in the office" = "present in the office"
  • "at the office" = "in the office for the purpose of carrying out his duties"
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I'd distinguish between "in the office" and "at the office" slightly differently. I'd use "at the office" in opposition to "at home" -- at his place of work, but maybe not necessarily physically in his office, while "in the office" means that he is physically present in his office. –  Peter Shor Jun 19 '11 at 15:15
    
Interesting to pick on 'in office' as valid - well done. I can think of no parallel for 'at office' that would be valid. –  Jonathan Leffler Jun 19 '11 at 17:00
    
Since the poster specifically mentioned "in/at office" without the article I thought I'd better clarify. Incidentally (I'm from the UK) I don't get the reading that Peter does with "at the office": to me it implies they're actually working at the office (whereas "at work" could imply e.g. they're out on the road). –  Neil Coffey Jun 19 '11 at 17:54
    
It's somewhat tangential, but there is a chain of bar & grill restaurants in New Jersey called "The Office." The joke is that you can go there, call home, and say "Honey, I'll be staying late at The Office." I don't believe Americans would use "in" for this usage, although they would say "Honey, I'm in the office". –  Peter Shor Jun 19 '11 at 18:14
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