I want to write about "averages" and I need to indicate the dimension that those averages are calculated by.

Example: Let's say, I've visited multiple restaurants in multiple cities. When I say "The average cost of a meal ...", I might need to talk about ...

  • The cost of a meal in different restaurants in the same city.
  • The cost of a meal in restaurants of the same restaurant chain in different cities.
  • The overall average cost of a meal.

What is the correct preposition to use here?

The average cost of a meal across?/among?/over? cities.

P.S. I've found this question on StackExchange which recommends the use of "of" over alternatives but that doesn't work for me here. I am using "of" but I need to indicate the overall group.

average across vs average among vs. average over

  • It's interesting that you stuck to "in" in your examples, and your meaning came through perfectly clearly: "The average cost of a meal in New York restaurants" || "The average cost of a meal in Olive Gardens in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston" Nov 22, 2021 at 15:04
  • My original case is about some technical stuff that would've been distracting here. I tried to build an example that would speak to the general audience.
    – e-mre
    Nov 22, 2021 at 15:13

1 Answer 1


I'm sure that different people will favor different alternatives, but of the three you've offered ("across", "among", and "over"), I prefer "over".

However, I'd probably let the object of the preposition dictate which preposition to use. For example:

The average cost of a meal in the five cities chosen . . . (since one eats "in" a city)

The average cost of a meal at the five Olive Gardens chosen . . . (since one eats "at" a restaurant)

The average cost of a meal between the hours of 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm . . . (since one eats "between" two times)

The average cost of a meal for people who can claim discounts . . . (since a meal has a cost "for" people)

It is to a great extent a matter of preference, though.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.