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Which preposition would follow the verb 'feature'? For instance, which would be correct?

"A, B and C feature in the top 5 positions"

or

"A, B and C feature at the top 5 positions"

I'm leaning towards in but just want to confirm.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The preposition used is not affected by the verb used, but by where the action is directed.

For example one can run in a race, and one can run at a wall.

So it is similar with the verb feature. One can feature in a performance or feature at a place. E.g.

Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers feature in Shall We Dance.

or

...the only exception being the tip of a spear featuring at the upper left corner [of the image]...

So the question you need to ask is are A, B and C in something or at something? The answer lies in the word position. One can both be at a position, and in a position. This can be confirmed by looking at the definition of at which can be defined as in, on or near.

However it is most usual to write that something is in a position, with respect to ranking, as can be seen from this NGram:

NGram of "at first position" vs "in first position"

So to be easily understood by the most people I recommend using:

A, B and C feature in the top 5 positions

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Some editors and style guides are pickier about prepositions. CMS 16 has a section (5.191: "List of words and the prepositions construed with them") which assigns specific prepositions to some verbs. –  rdhs Jan 9 '12 at 10:58
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I would say in but I can't seem to find the documentation to back it up. Another option would be to say:

"A, B, and C hold three of the top five positions"

But admittedly this does not use feature.

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The first one is correct.For example- "Actress X is featured in the upcoming movie xyz".

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In your sentence, in makes more sense. It's a matter of physical metaphors.

Do you consider the number 1 position a place that A, B or C can occupy? (At the top of the heap., as it were.) In that case, use at.

Do you consider a position as being a slot in a table, into which A, B or C can be inserted? In that case, it's better to use in.

In your case, your use of the words feature and position suggest the latter metaphor, so use in.

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