Monday, 18 August 2014

Onto, On to & Into, In to

For the most part, these words may seem interchangeable. Of course, that would be a little too easy, so there’s actually a slight difference between when you should use the one word version instead of the the two word version. These quick explanations should help:


Onto: To place on the surface.

On to: Can mean onto but can also mean forwards, as in Let’s move on to the next pub. No one is mounting any pubs in this example.

Basically on towards cannot be shortened to onto. However, Let’s move on to the next point would sound funny if you used towards – hopefully you can see that to kinda still means towards in that example.


Into: Movement towards the inside. You’re indicating movement.

In to: Less common because it's a coincidence that in and to appear next to each other. When it happens, you're indicating position.

A lot of the time when it's in to, you can separate the words out: ‘Handed the knife in / to the police station’ rather than ‘Stabbing the knife into the police man’ or ‘Walking into the station’.

For those who are picky
If you’re British:

Onto is a little more casual and so avoid it in formal writings to sound more official. Otherwise, it depends on preference, although bear in mind that onto is becoming more standard.

If you’re American:

Onto is much more common. Stick with it unless you really mean on towards.

Cheers for reading!