In This Year vs. This Year – What’s the Difference?

The expressions “In This Year” and “This Year” are both grammatically correct forms. However, they do not refer to the same thing.

Let’s take a look, and find out the differences between “In This Year” and “This Year” and how we should use them when telling our stories.

In This Year vs. This Year – What’s the Difference?

The difference between “In This Year” and “This Year” is in the time frame they refer to. “This Year” should be used to describe the current year a person is in, whereas “In This Year” should be used to describe a year that’s in the past, that’s history.

In This Year vs. This Year

Take a look at the examples below:

  • Joshua and Jenny got married in the year 2007.
  • Earlier this year, Kenny and Allysa moved in together.
  • In the year 2003 I didn’t even know what to do with my life!
  • We should take a vacation this year.

Looking at the examples provided, you’ll see that “In The Year” is being used to tell what took place in a past time. Joshua and Jenny got married a long time ago, and even before that time I had no idea what to do with my life.

On the other hand, “This Year” points to the year we are in now, in the present time. It’s used to tell about something that recently happened (Kenny and Allysa moved in together) or plans for the recent future (a desired vacation for this year).

In This Year

“In This Year” reflects a year that’s in the past. The addition of the preposition “In” indicates a location, in the sense of a certain distance from the present. You should only use “In This Year” when sharing information about things that happened in the past.

Take look at “In This Year” in a few sentences (as well as some of its variations):

  1. In the year 2013, Hailey lost her cat.
  2. Matthew’s little brother was born in the year 2018.
  3. 2003 was very important for the Jones’ family, since in this year they had their first child.
  4. In the year 2005, Nathan graduated high school.
  5. Larissa left her last job in the year 2021.

It’s quite simple, right? Sometimes, if you wish to give a sense of a time that’s even more distant, you can replace “This” by “That”.

Also, in some cases you can simply name the year, without the need for the “In This Year” form. For example, you could say “Matthew’s little brother was born in 2018”, and it’d be as correct as sentence number 2.

It’s up to you how you wish to express yourself. However, keep in mind that, as long as you use it to refer to years that are gone, “In This Year” is grammatically correct and doesn’t need to be avoided.

This Year

“This Year” means the current year we are in, and should only be used to reflect the present time.

Here are some examples of “This Year” in a few sentences:

  1. Thank you for all your help this year.
  2. This year, I will focus on my mental and physical health.
  3. Craig believes that this year will be better than the last.
  4. Laura adopted 3 dogs this year!
  5. Viola plans to take more classes this year in order to graduate early.

The form “This Year” can be used to share things that have already happened (in the past tense), things that are happening currently (in the present), and what the plans or projects are for the next months (in the future tense).

As long as the discussion addresses events from the current year we’re living, “This Year” is grammatically correct, regardless of the verb tense chosen.

However, in those cases you can never substitute “This” for “That”, because “That would indicate a certain distance, that the fact we’re talking about in the present year doesn’t allow for.

Final Thoughts

Small words can make a big difference in the meaning of what we’re trying to convey. “This Year” refers to the present year we’re in. By adding “In” to the expression, we transform it completely. “In This Year” refers to a year in the past, and never the current year.