join and join in

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Senior Member
Hello there:
I can't differenciate the difference between" join" and the phrase " join in".
So I looked them up.
My source says:
If you join an activity that other people are doing, you take part in it or become involved with it.
If you join in an activity, you take part in it or become involved in it.
Still, I am not clear.
Could you clarify it for me?Also,I wonder how native speakers use them.
Thanks for your help!
  • setsanto

    Canada, English
    I would use "join" in purely the sense of becoming associated with that group or person or whatever. So something along the lines of "I decided to join the basketball team".

    "Join in" on the other hand, to me means more along the lines of that I actually did something second I joined. So an example would be "They were playing basketball, so I decided to join in."

    Basically I think the difference is that join just means you became associated with what you joined. Join in means you completed an action making you associated with something.

    I hope that didn't just make you more confused!



    Senior Member
    English - England
    Good explanation setsanto. To summarise, you normally "join" a group but "join in" an activity.


    English--American (upstate NY)
    There's a structural difference here. "Join in" doesn't take a direct object--you can "join a team" but you can't "join in a team." "Join in" is used when there is no direct object, as in the square-dancing move, "All join in and circle 'round." There, you can't say "All join and circle 'round." I think join must have a direct object.


    Senior Member
    I think "join in" can both stand alone and take an object, as in-

    Setsanto's example- "They were playing basketball, so I decided to join in."
    He would not join in the game.

    Sometimes, "join in with + an object" is used, as in-
    He would not join in with the game.
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