In, Into, and Even In To

rogersgeorge on August 28th, 2017

German has in, but nothing exactly equivalent to into. The reason is that German uses case to indicate motion or lack of motion. In with the dative case means the same as English in; in with the accusative means into, because the accusative (among other things) implies motion.

Okay, in English and German, here’s a simple example:

I climbed into the car;  ich steig in das Auto.
I did it in the car; ich habe es in dem Auto getan.

However, you can also use in and to next to each other as two separate words, and your spell checker is even likely to get this wrong! It’s when you use a separable verb (aka phrasal verb) followed by a prepositional phrase or infinitive. Here are some example separable verbs with in: give in, put in, break in, chip in, fill in.

An example of getting it wrong, from a passage at history.com about Son of Sam:

On Christmas Eve, 1975, he gave into these internal voices and severely wounded 15-year-old Michelle Forman with a hunting knife.

And getting it right:

I chipped in to help the cause.
I shouldn’t break in to their conversation.

 

So be careful: this is easy to get wrong.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*