Thursday, February 12, 2015

Into or In To?

Tim asked when to use into as one word and when to use in to as two words. If there’s any connection to direction or motion in the sentence, definitely use into, the single word.

·      We used to sneak into the theater through an emergency door.
·      When we drove into town, we encountered a traffic jam.
·      I’ll look into your complaint by the end of the day.
·      Step into the corridor while we clean up this mess.
In most cases, when in and to end up side by side, it’s sheer accident. The word in can be a preposition (in the basement), an adverb (come on in), an adjective (the in crowd), a noun (to have an in with the mayor), or part of a phrasal verb (to break in).
·      I listened in to the phone conversation.
·      Come in to see me any time.
·      I plan to use my "in" to influence the election.
·      Sign in to register for the conference.
If we use the phrasal verb turn in as an example, the difference in meaning and use will be more apparent. In each case below, (a) is correct and (b) would amount to magic if it were even possible.
(a) The suspect turned himself in to the police.
(b) The suspect turned himself into the police.
(a) Turn in to the driveway and wait for me.
(b) Turn into the driveway and wait for me.
(a) She turned her essay in to the teacher.
(b) She turned her essay into the teacher.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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