Pavement pedantry: in to vs. into

It's confusing isn't it? Two words (well three, actually) that sound the same but should be used differently. Here's the lowdown...

By: Clare Howdle,   1 minute


There’s no two ways about it, in to or into is a confusing state of affairs.

Into is a preposition and has many definitions, but they all generally relate to direction or motion. Use into when you are indicating movement into a state or place – putting your phone ‘into’ your bag,  jumping ‘into’ the sea, falling ‘into’ financial difficulty.

In and to however are two separate words and a little more tricky. They can be preposition, adverb (or even adjective or noun in the case of in). We could spend ages talking about how and when they are what they are and where to use them, but we’re pretty sure we’re in the minority of people who are actually interested in that sort of chat.

So the shortest route through the ‘in to vs. into’ quagmire is this: use into for anything indicating movement into a state or place. Use in to for everything else.

With that rule in mind, why not test yourself? Would you use in to or into with these sentences:

a) A man walked in to/into a bar…

b) Junior doctors will not give in to/into the Government’s contractual demands.

c) The media’s obsession with Beyoncé’s new album is turning in to/into a ridiculous state of affairs.

Tweet us with your answers. If you care.


Latest Stories