In/of conundrum
January 7, 2012 4:49 AM   Subscribe

Experience in, or experience of?

Would one properly say "experience in [gravy preparation and dog grooming]" or "experience of [gravy preparation and dog groomin]" in the context of a résumé?

I always say "in" but, looking at it, it no longer feels right, and I'm tempted to say "of". But will that just make me look like a massive twat?
posted by tumid dahlia to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by Thorzdad at 4:53 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I suppose "in" is more suggestive of getting one's hands dirty, whereas "of" is a bit more "Oh, yeah, I saw a guy doing that once. Watched him for a bit."?
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:55 AM on January 7, 2012

Yeah. "Of" is passive. Like you are aware "of" something because you once saw someone else do it. "In" implies you have hands-on experience.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:57 AM on January 7, 2012

Well, that clears that up then. Soooo....thanks for stopping by!
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:58 AM on January 7, 2012

Experience in. Personally, I like to avoid this and make it more active (whenever possible), such as Experience preparing gravy and grooming dogs.
posted by neushoorn at 4:59 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

True, that's even better.
posted by tumid dahlia at 5:07 AM on January 7, 2012

It’s the difference between being experienced and having experienced:

Experience in nuclear fission, circa 1945: physicist working on the Manhattan project.
Experience of nuclear fission, circa 1945: resident of Hiroshima.
posted by mcwetboy at 5:14 AM on January 7, 2012 [19 favorites]

How about "experience with?" Any takers?
posted by BostonTerrier at 9:12 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was coming in to say "experience with" as well.

But between of and in, I'd vote in.

Also like active verbs.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:10 AM on January 7, 2012

Or, Fred is an experienced dog groomer and pet wrangler. Jane has 4 years experience as a gravy chef. If a sentence contruction sounds bad, sometimes you just change the sentence.
posted by theora55 at 3:19 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Experience at"?
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:01 PM on January 7, 2012

"At" is probably a place, that is, "I have had paid singing experience at Woodstock"; you could say "with" when it's an activity/thing/place you've some active relationship with, such as "I have experience with glottal singing" or "I have experience with clubbing baby seals". You could also say"in" with the latter, but I think "with" makes it more ironic and separates the experience from you in a subtle fashion as a unique state/beings/set of things. Like, "I have had unfortunate experiences with naked mole rats."
posted by reenka at 12:09 PM on January 8, 2012

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