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Very simple question this time around, folks! (Have) experience or (be) experienced both generally create a connotation of living through something and/or learning about it. The big question is which preposition follows which word, or if they change based on what concept follows them.

My closest guess is:

I have experience / I am experienced + with + general noun (cars, animals, etc.)

I have experience / I am experienced + in + field of knowledge (physics, French cuisine, etc.)

A coworker of mine believes the answer may be in word order:

I have linguistics/teaching/computer experience.

I still feel it's possible to say experience in/with, but his addition to the argument isn't invalid whatsoever. I do think sometimes my ascertainment is totally valid (to me), and other times there seem to be giant loopholes. Can anyone give a really thorough breakdown of which prepositions to use and where?

2 Answers 2

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Both are correct exactly the way you used them. LDOCE and ODO give examples for experience in and experience with, where experience is of course used as a noun.

Furthermore, Google Books shows extensive usage of both phrases:26,700,000 and 12,000,000 respectively.

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  • It's very curious to see "experience of". I've never heard that construction in my entire life!
    – zeek
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 12:10
  • That one was new for me too :-)
    – Lucky
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 15:10
  • 2
    I think it's used sometimes like "That was an experience of a lifetime!"
    – Neerkoli
    Commented Jul 20, 2017 at 5:58
  • In "experience of a lifetime", the "lifetime" is not the experience gained. The experience gained is the unspecified subject of the sentence, and it happened within an (hopefully unfinished) lifetime. So the use of "of" is a rather at an angle to the question asked. Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 12:51
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Although this question doesn't ask about the case without a preposition, that usage is also common enough that I think it warrants including here to help ease any lingering confusion:

I have experience [verb]. E.g., I have experience programming databases; I also have experience teaching adults to swim.

I have experience with [general noun]. E.g., I have experience with heartbreak.

I have experience in [field of knowledge or skill]. E.g., I have experience in electrical engineering.

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