Which is correct, "be embodied in" or "be embodied within"?

There is hope for the future of the great river, and it is embodied within the reverence with which she is still held. (from a documentary film, Ganges, by Darren Flaxstone)

Reverence is in people's heart, in this sense. It is a feeling, which has no extension. Therefore, is it not more natural to say that hope is embodied in the reverence?

  • Your quote doesn't say embodied with, it says embodied within
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 11:36
  • ngram suggests in and not within, which sound to me a bit like a pleonasm.
    – mplungjan
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 12:32
  • An edit has completely changed this question.
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 12:49
  • @AndrewLeach It's okay. The edit was needed and the question is fine now.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 14:13

2 Answers 2


Within is used in this particular context to stress the fact that it is "very much in" the reverence. That fact is the essence of this sentence.


Well, my home is near her shores, just before she flows out into the Bay of Bengal.

Ganges is, lets say, revered by the whole Hindu population of the world. So seen this way: ...hope...is embodied "within" the reverence with which she is still held by the people.

"within" just conveys the fact she has a place somewhere in the hearts of the people. Using "in" would be inappropriate.

Example:‘Elvis is in the building.’(clear) vs ‘Elvis is within the building.’(somewhat hazy). See here:http://www.differencebetween.net/language/differences-between-in-and-within/

  • Reverence is within the heart, hope is in the reverence. Just because reverence is within the heart, does not mean hope has to be within the reverence.
    – benlogos
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 14:47
  • That hope is somewhere within the reverence, is also plausible. Don't you think so? Because with the pollution that is being done to the river, her future is grim indeed. Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 15:28
  • Yes , it is POSSIBLE for "hope" to be within "reverence".
    – benlogos
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 15:47

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