Some confusion regarding beat... at or beat... in.

Is saying

I beat him at an English test.


I beat him in an English test.

is the right one?

Both seems correct.

I personally think that beat ... in something is the correct one.


This is one of those situations in English where you may get a different answer from each person you ask. They are each correct in various situations, and are sometimes interchangeable. For the most part, "at" is used when talking about an activity, and "in" is used for a subject. So you might say: "I beat him at basket weaving," or "I beat him in mathematics." But for both examples, the other word would not have been incorrect. And to add in yet another option, when speaking of a particular event, like your English test, you could also say "on," and in your example that is the word I would be most likely to use. "I beat him on that English test." To give some context, I am a native English speaker from Dallas, TX.

  • 1
    As a British English speaker, my instinct would be to say 'beat him at' an activity or subject, but 'beat him in' a competition. I wouldn't use 'on' in the way Mrssbolton does. – Kate Bunting Jan 11 '18 at 10:11

I wrote to someone 'can't beat you on the cuteness ' I think here on is correct as cuteness isn't activity or subject

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