In American English you would say, for example, "At high tide the water level would be here." Is it different in British English? I'm reading a document that says, "In high tide the water level would be here."

Is that incorrect, unusual, or just British?

  • It's just a relatively unusual usage (but not wrong, imho) - nothing to do with a BrE/AmE split. Google Books claims just 4 instances of and in high tide, compared to almost 40,000 instances of and at high tide Feb 17 '16 at 22:00

At high tide is a common expression both in AmE and BrE.

  • At high tide, the ocean tries to fill up the bay, but before it gets a chance, the tide has changed and begun to drop, so that the tide variations in the bay never approach those on the ocean side of the island. (A cruising guide..)

In high tide is less common.

  • Among other seaweeds in high tide levels or around salt-marsh plants in estuaries. Entcromorpha intestinalis Green sea intestines Membranous green tubes, ...(Field Guide to the Eastern...)


  • I see "at high tide" as a specific time event, whereas your 2nd example, "in high tide levels", the reference to high tide is not the high tide itself, but rather the level of the water (at high tide). I agree that the 2nd example is less common but I'm not seeing the 2 examples as interchangeable expressions meaning the same thing. Feb 17 '16 at 23:19
  • I agree @Kristina-Lopez. There's one other thing I'm wondering about. If someone wants to refer to a time when the tide is relatively high but not necessarily at it's periodic apex, is "at high tide" too misleading in its seeming specificity. That is, it might be taken to refer only to the specific moment(s) when the tide is at its apex and not all those intermediary moments when the water is somewhat high. Is there any concise way around this potential problem?
    – Brian R
    Feb 17 '16 at 23:36
  • Not sure, Brian. I think "high tide" and "low tide" are represented by a time span. I'd need to look that up. Feb 18 '16 at 0:44

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