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Which preposition in front of “line” — “on”, “in”, “at”?

Given a numbered list of lines of text (in my case an algorithm), should I use "in line" or "at line" to refer to the content of the line?

For example

the code at lines 5-10 loops over the elements of a list


the operation in line 10 sums two positive integers.


2 Answers 2


I think there are three usages here.

One can talk about a line of code as one entity, for example the "code at line ten".

One can talk about a fragment of code that spans many lines, for example "the code at (or between, or from .. to ..) lines 5-10".

Finally, one can talk about a fragment of code within a line, for example "the object instantiation with a null constructor, which is found in line ten".


If referring to a specific line, then "at" would indicate either a statement about the entire line, or possibly about the first element, while "in" would be about a subset of the line.

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