My question is whether "How" can be preceded by "in" in a sentence and if the following instance where it has been used is grammatically correct.

One of the major ways in which the current times are changing is in how we communicate with each other.

Could you please explain. Thanks.


How is one of those interrogative words that lets us ask a question, often with the auxiliary verb do:

How do we communicate?

How asks about the manner of something (here, communicating). By dropping the do, we can transform this question into a clause that stands for the manner of that something:

how we communicate

Manner is an abstract noun, and wherever we can use that noun in a sentence, we should be able to use the how clause in its place:

As the subject of a sentence:

The manner of our communication is important.
How we communicate is important.

As the object of a transitive verb:

I like the manner in which we communicate with each other.
I like how we communicate with each other.

As an objective complement:

He showed us the proper manner of communication.
He showed us how to communicate properly.

And, as in your sentence, as the object of a preposition:

The change is in the manner of our communication with each other.
The change is in how we communicate with each other.

The appearance of a particular preposition doesn't depend on the how clause, but rather on what word licenses that preposition, i.e., what preposition is idiomatic with the word. Change can take in. Talk, on the other hand, takes about. So it's no surprise that we say

Change in how we communicate.


Talk about how we communicate.


If you fill in an adequate noun you get an idea how such constructions come into being: in (the way) how we communicate with each other.

Before interrogative subclauses eg with "how/what/who etc" can occur a preposition as in

  • a book about how alcohol is made - about (the way) how ...

  • There has been much hand-wringing about how unprepared American students are for college - about (the degree) how ...

  • a few more details on/about why your computer doesn't work - about the (question/problem) why ...

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