At night or In the night?

A student asked me a very good question: what is the difference between ‘at night’ and ‘in the night’?

It’s a good question because I never thought about this before. The best answer I can give is nothing. There is no real difference.

However ‘at night’ sounds a lot more elegant, and ‘in the night’ sounds rather clumsy.

I always like to use ‘at night’, and the only time I would use ‘in the night’ is if I am writing something like poetry or the lyrics of a song, when the three syllables of ‘in the night’ seem better than the two syllables of ‘at night’.

But I rarely write poetry, so my best advice is to always use ‘at night’.

3 thoughts on “At night or In the night?

  1. I’m glad to know that.
    I often think the same question ‘which should I use?’
    From now, I don’t need to stop to think about it.
    I just use ‘at night’!!
    And now I know that I should ask you when I face such kind of questions.


    • Hi! According to the British Council – “in the night” is used when we refer to a short period of time during the night; and “at night” when it’s all night long. Examples:
      “I like to work at night.” (during all night) and
      “The baby cried twice in the night.” (for short periods – not all night long).

      Knowing this it’s easier for your to decide which one to use, in any situation.
      I hope it helps! 🙂


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