The correct usage and difference between the phrases “in the meeting”, “at the meeting” and “on the meeting” is a tricky subject for many readers and writers. This brief guide to the usage and meaning of all three phrases including sentence examples will clarify any confusion in this area.
Is It ” In The Meeting”, “At The Meeting”, Or “On The Meeting”?
“In the meeting” and “at the meeting” are correct to use in a sentence, but “on the meeting” is incorrect to use and should never be used. “In a meeting” means to be in the room involved in the meeting, and “at a meeting” refers to the meeting location.
Whilst “in the meeting” suggests active participation, “at a meeting” could still refer to participation, but perhaps in a lesser role.
The phrases “in the meeting” and “at the meeting” are, however, very similar in meaning and are often used interchangeably in conversation.
When Should I Use “In The Meeting”?
The phrase “in the meeting” should be used in a sentence when referring to a level of active involvement in the meeting in question.
The following example sentences should elevate your understanding of the meaning of the phrase “in the meeting”:
- I will be in the meeting until 10 pm, so I can prepare for it at home during the afternoon; I think I will have plenty of time.
- I will be discussing the yearly profits in the meeting this morning, so I need to ensure that I have all of the relevant paperwork.
- I am doing a presentation on behalf of the team in the meeting today, and am feeling nervous about it already.
- I am in a meeting until 1 pm so won’t be able to answer the phone during this time.
- Sharon is in a meeting today so can’t meet us for lunch as planned; I think her friends will be disappointed.
When Should I Use “At The Meeting”?
The phrase “at the meeting” should be included in a sentence when discussing the physical location where the meeting is taking place.
Since the meaning of the phrase “at the meeting” can be confusing, take note of the following helpful example sentences that include the phrase “at the meeting”:
- Jane isn’t working in the office today, unfortunately, she is at the meeting in Newcastle.
- I am looking forward to being at the meeting in Liverpool; it will be good to see how the team has progressed.
- Sam will probably discuss the recent staff management issues at the meeting this afternoon in Room 2.
- At the meeting the teaching staff will each do a presentation about the grades of each year group.
- Jane’s son is at a meeting this afternoon I think; Jane is providing transport in her Ford Focus.
When Should I Use “On The Meeting”?
The phrase “on the meeting” is incorrect to use in a sentence and should not be used at all. If the phrase “on the meeting” is used in a sentence, the sentence will not make sense.
To further explain how the phrase “on the meeting” is incorrect to use in a sentence, note the following helpful examples of incorrect usage of “on the meeting”:
- I’m on the meeting from 2-5 pm today so I won’t be able to take any calls; my phone will be turned off throughout.
- Jack is on the annual meeting today, so he has to drive over 30 miles to get there; he will have to set off very early in the morning.
- On the meeting Julie provided everyone will glasses of orange juice, sandwiches, and chocolate biscuits during a brief break mid-morning.
- Unfortunately I’m on a meeting that day so won’t be able to participate; I know this is unfortunate timing.
- On a meeting last week I felt that Steve acted quite inappropriately: I’m considering making a formal complaint about the matter.
Is It “I’m In A Meeting”, “I’m At A Meeting”, Or “I’m On A Meeting”?
The phrases “I’m in a meeting” and “I’m at a meeting” are correct to use in a sentence, but the phrase “I’m on a meeting” is incorrect to use because it does not make sense. “I’m in a meeting” refers to involvement in the meeting and “I’m at a meeting” refers to being at the location of the meeting.
Take care not to use “I’m on a meeting” in a sentence because, just like when using “on a meeting”, this is an incorrect phrase to use in any circumstance.
“I’m in a meeting” and “I’m at a meeting” are correct phrases to use and refer to the self’s activities around meetings because the first person tense is used.
Are “In The Meeting”, “At The Meeting”, And “On The Meeting” Interchangeable?
The phrases “in the meeting” and “at the meeting” are often used interchangeably because their meanings are similar, but if adhering strictly to grammar rules, their meanings are slightly different. The phrase “on the meeting” is never used interchangeably because it is incorrect to use.
As established earlier in this article, “in the meeting” refers to active involvement in the meeting, whilst “at the meeting” refers to the physical location of the meeting, so the meaning of these two phrases is subtly different.
Is “In The Meeting”, “At The Meeting”, Or “On The Meeting” Used The Most?
The phrase “at the meeting” has been used in sentences more than the phrase “in the meeting” and “on the meeting”.
This graph from Google Ngram Viewer depicts the usage of the phrases “in the meeting”, “at the meeting” and “on the meeting” in the time period 1800 to 2019. The line in red represents the usage of “at the meeting”, the line in blue represents “in the meeting” and the line in green represents “on the meeting”.
As you can see from consulting the graph, the phrase “at the meeting” has always been used the most out of all three phrases, but the usage of this phrase has been slowly decreasing since 1920.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.