They were well in their fifties.

Jezuz

New Member
Russian
#1
While I am aware that it is far more commonly phrased as "They were well into their fifties", I still from time to time run into the "in" version of the phrase. Does it really sound off to a native speaker and if it doesn't is this even grammatical?

Thanks!
 

natkretep

Moderato con anima (English Only)
English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
#3
It's off to me. It's either 'They were well into their fifties' or 'There were in their late fifties'.
 

Chasint

Senior Member
English - England
#11
... I still from time to time run into the "in" version of the phrase....
Are you certain that you haven't heard, e.g. "He is in his fifties." ?

John is in his fifties. :tick:
The train is in the tunnel. :tick:

John is well into his fifties. :tick:
The train is well into the tunnel. :tick:
 

Jezuz

New Member
Russian
#12
Are you certain that you haven't heard, e.g. "He is in his fifties." ?

John is in his fifties. :tick:
The train is in the tunnel. :tick:

John is well into his fifties. :tick:
The train is well into the tunnel. :tick:
Yeah, I am quite certain. I hear it occasionally and also I've seen it in writing. Just to back me up, although I am not advocating the usage, here's a few google search results in books.
"well in his fifties" - Google Search
"well in his forties" - Google Search
"well in his sixties" - Google Search

They may be few in number, but they are out there. My non-native-speaker guess is that it may have something to do with the usage of "in" occasionally being synonymous with "into", as in "he dropped the watch in the toilet", or "dip it in sauce and then eat it". But I won't quote myself on this:D
 

Chasint

Senior Member
English - England
#13
I'm surprised by those examples. For me they are ungrammatical.

Here's a Google ngram showing the relative frequencies. As the graph shows, there was a peak in the frequency of "well in" around the 1960s. In the 2000s "well in" has dropped to almost nothing in comparison to "well into".

Click to enlarge

[ATTACH=full]28775[/ATTACH]

Google Ngram Viewer
 
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