English is full of phrases that we kind of just say without really thinking about them. But once you do start thinking, you have to ask yourself: am I doing this right? Is what I’m saying correct? Does “welcome in” even make any sense?
In this post, we’ll discuss whether or not it is grammatically correct to say “welcome in” and why or why not.
Is It Correct to Say “Welcome In”?
“Welcome in” is a grammatically correct phrase in the English language, and it is very commonly used to greet someone who is entering a new location. It is equivalent to “welcome” but is just a slightly different way of saying it. There are no grammatical issues with “welcome in.”
Many languages have multiple ways to say the same thing, and English is no exception. We often say “welcome” when greeting someone, and “welcome in” is just a slightly different play on this common greeting. But it does have marginally different context, so it can’t always be used in place of “welcome.”
Welcome In – Meaning
“Welcome” is a greeting in English used to let someone know that you are either happy to see them or acknowledge their presence. It is used in the same way as other greetings such as “hello” or “good day” are. “Welcome in” is just a slightly different variation of the greeting, often used in retail.
Because “in” is included in the phrase, “welcome in” is only appropriate if the person being greeted is entering an area that would be considered “in” as opposed to “out.” For instance, it would make sense to say “welcome in” to someone entering a store, but not to someone stepping out of a car into a park.
“Welcome in” is just a variant of “welcome” used primarily to greet people moving from one area to another, generally one that is considered “inside.” Other than this, it is no different than “welcome” alone. Here are some example sentences using “welcome in:”
- Welcome in, please take a look around my store! (said to someone entering a store from outside)
- The barkeep said “welcome in” when the two strangers stepped out of the rain and into his pub.
- Our host said “welcome in” after answering the doorbell, letting us into his home quickly.
Welcome In – Origin
It’s unclear what the exact origin of the phrase “welcome in” is, but it’s much older than some people likely give it credit for. At the very least, the phrase existed as early as 1847, since it appeared in Asenath Nicholson’s book, Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger.
As to why “welcome in” evolved from “welcome” at all, it is likely due to the desire to add direction to the phrase: while “welcome” is just a greeting with no implications, “welcome in” is a greeting that also directs someone towards something (generally, into a building).
This phrase likely grew popular as a means of greeting customers, as “welcome in” not only greets them but also directs them into the store. Though, while that seems likely, it has to be acknowledged as conjecture.
Welcome In vs. Welcome
There is not really much difference between “welcome in” and “welcome.” The only important difference is that “welcome in” offers some form of instruction whereas “welcome” alone does not. “Welcome in” not only greets someone but directs them to do something, in this case, entering an area.
The difference is slight, but it does change where each one of these greetings is appropriate. “Welcome in” doesn’t make a lot of sense if you aren’t “in” something when you say it to someone, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense if the person you are saying it to wasn’t entering the location you are in.
This is why “welcome in” is generally reserved for greeting someone who has entered a building that you were already occupying. This situation most often arises in retail, where an employee greets a potential customer. Here are some examples of both phrases being used:
- The employee said “welcome in” as I stepped into the department store.
- “Welcome,” said the professor as he spoke to the students gathered in the auditorium.
- The doorman a the hotel is required to say “welcome in” whenever someone enters the building.
- Sally told the customer “welcome” as they stepped up to her lemonade stand.
Ultimately, “welcome in” and “welcome” are very similar phrases. However, they are slightly different, with “welcome in” being a greeting that is only suitable when welcoming someone into an area from outside of it, while “welcome” can be used outside of this situation.
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.