Experience of vs Experience in

Hello everyone,
Please look at the two sentnece about ‘‘experience’’
1.You’ve got a lot of experience of lecturing.
And 2.I had some experience in fashion design.
Can you tell me in which context we should use ‘‘experience of’’ and ‘‘experience in’’ ?
Thanks in advance!!!

I feel,

  1. experience in ‘field, business, etc.’ such as ‘experience in management’. So, experience in lecturing would be better.
  2. experience of ‘position, occupation, etc.’ such as ‘experience of sales engineer’.

To me:

experience in… means you’ve actually done the action named.

experience of… means you may have been a receiver of the action named


experience in giving lectures

experience of attending lectures

Unless it’s written so: “experience of working in sales”, but the “in” is still the guiding item there.

Experience in sales is the same as experience of working in sales, IMO.

Any more idea ,please ?

Wonderful sum-up! I am really convinced but please allow me to give just one ‘exception’:

If we could say: experience of motherhood, then the experient wouldn’t be necessarily a receiver but a doer of maternal business.


experiencer of motherhood

Is that the same as “experience of”?

What is the meaning of experience in “to have experience” in “have experience of” or “have experience in”, for you? Is it the same as in “be an experiencer of”?

Sorry, I made a typo and I have corrected it. It should have been ‘experience of’.

experience of - indirect experience
experience in - direct experience


Sorry, Molly, but I’d like to stick to ‘experience of motherhood’ for a while. If we could say so, then ‘experience of motherhood’ wouldn’t be an indirect one. Anyhow, I don’t feel like to say ‘experience in motherhood’.

Just my two cents.

You may be looking a different meanings of the word “experience” here.

To me, “to experience motherhood” and “to have experience of motherhood” mean “she has gone through motherhood”. Simply that. “To have experience in motherhood” treats “motherhood” as a skill, or similar, and so “experience” there means “to have skill in something”.

How do you feel about (*?) “she has skill of motherhood”?

You took it from Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, right? In the meaning of ‘knowledge, skill’ I can’t feel any difference. Further, in the meaning of ‘something that happens’ they use of/with.

No, not from that dictionary, but I think you can find meanings of the word almost anywhere.

She has experience of motherhood = she has been a mother, but it doesn’t follow that she has skills associated with being a mother.

She has experience in motherhood = she has been a mother, or is a midwife, etc., and it follows that she has skills associated with being a mother or mothering.

Excuse me, there was some misunderstanding :slight_smile: .
duc wrote:

These examples are exactly the same I found in LDCE.

OK. Thanks for the clarification.

Molly, I hope you are more polite at heart, aren’t you?

Sorry? Have I been impolite in this thread?

I would agree that “experience in” is widely used in relation to fields of activity. I would take it as a subset of “experience of”, which has a broader application. Thus:

  1. He is experienced in the art of straw hat making.
  2. He is experienced in designing custom systems and solutions for high-tech applications.

The distinction between “direct” and “indirect” experience is not accurate; all these are fine:

  1. Do you have any experience of working in sales / for an undertaker? (direct)
  2. I have extensive experience of conducting interviews. (direct)
  3. The experience of running a small business has not been pleasant. (direct)

All the best,


Edited to clarify.


To me this discussion about ‘in’ or ‘of’ after ‘experience’ doesn’t really take account of what the word means. It can refer to extensive/deep knowledge concerning something or it can mean simply the effect an event or activity has on someone. That’s why I would query the use of ‘of’ in two of the following:

In (3) I would use ‘in’ - (4) I would use ‘in’ and in (5) I would keep ‘of’.


I’d agree with Alan. I’d also say that “experience” in #5 has a different meaning from the one used #3 and #4. See above.

For me:

he has experience of hard work/working hard = (ambiguous or unclear) he knows what hard work is, but it doesn’t follow that he has experienced hard work first-hand or will have the ability to do hard work

he has experience in hard work/working hard = he’s done hard work and probably has the ability to do work hard again

But then, as with Alan, Mr P, etc. I may be wrong on this.

(Strange how most of the other, regular, native-speaking commentators are giving this thread a miss. :?: )

What’s the native-speaker response to these?

I have knowledege in many software systems including AutoCad, Sketchup, Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Indesign, etc.
I have knowledege of many software systems including AutoCad, Sketchup, Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Indesign

For me, the latter is ambiguous in meaning.