Live in only a portion of (something)


Hello there,

Could you please help me clarify this sentence so I knew if my guessing is right?

Right now I am reading a book of Mary Manin Morrissey "Building your field of Dreams" where she says "We settle for a life of mediocrity, living in only a portion of what's possible."
So, is it a common expression with live+in? Does she mean we as humans live out just a portion of it? If yes, what is difference between live out vs live in? Which one is more spoken?

Thanks in advance!
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Hello. Morrissey is using a metaphor in that sentence about life. She uses "living in only a portion of what's possible" to convey the idea that life is somehow like a house in which we might only occupy a room or two rather than the whole dwelling.

    "Live out" and "live in" may have overlapping meanings in at least one sense of those phrases. I can say "I am living out of my car" to express the idea that I have to sleep and eat in my car because I don't have a regular dwelling to stay in. That meaning is pretty similar to "I live in a house", which merely expresses the idea that I live in a house rather than in a cave, an apartment, or some other possible place where I could live for a while.


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    "Live in" refers to a house or an apartment. Here "live" is the normal verb, and "in" means "inside". The phrase "I live in" answers the question "Where do you live?"

    The writer is using this metaphorically, saying we "live inside" a subset of the things we could live inside".

    "Live out" means "continue to the end of". That is the definition in our dictionary. The example in the dictionary is They lived out their lives in peaceful contentment. That is the most common use. "Live out" is hardly ever used in other sentences.

    The writer does not use "live out".


    I do appreciate your patient answers to my never-ending questions! Thanks to both of you! Language is like abyss - the more you dip the more you understand there is no bottom line.:):thumbsup:
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