'At night' versus 'In the night'


1-He works at night.
2- He works in the night.
3- He works nights.

Do all have the same meaning?


Hi Tom,

I would suggest (1) refers to doing work at night probably of a clerical /academic nature because then it’s quiet.

I think (2) would refer to someone doing something when the rest of us are asleep but I can only think of Dracula!

(3) would refer to someone who works during the night instead of during the day as part of some shift system and that could be as a police officer or a nurse in a hospital.


I immediately thought of a burglar or some kind of gangster. But on the other hand, Batman works in the night a lot.

Thank you, Alan and Jamie!

All those examples were good but could there be some flexibility in them? :o I mean, Alan, can a student work in the night and a thief at night? In other words, your examples showed that all of the sentences are grammatically correct–could they be interchanged regardless of who is working?

Thanks in advance


In English, you can never say never, but I don’t think they would normally be interchangeable.

Hi Tom

I agree with Alan and Jamie. Grammar is only part of language (as you know ;)). You also have to get the meanings and associations right.

My pet barked all night.

In the above sentence, the grammar is correct, but the meaning? What if my pet is a cat? 8)