“In To” vs. “Into”: Make Some Space To Learn The Difference

dark aqua text "in to vs into" on light aqua background

Is there a difference between into and in to? Does the space change the meaning? And when should one be used instead of the other?

In this article, we’ll go into detail about the difference between into and in to, explain when and how each is used, and provide examples of how they typically appear in sentences.

Quick summary

The preposition into is extremely common. But it’s also very common for the words in and to to appear right next to each other in a way that does not convey the same meaning as into. This can happen when the word in is part of a phrasal verb and the word to is part of an infinitive or is being used as a preposition by itself or in another way. For example, in the sentence Please log in to continue, in is part of the phrasal verb log in, and to is a function word that introduces the infinitive form of continue. There are cases where either option is considered acceptable, such as when a phrasal verb includes in but using the preposition into is appropriate, as in Please log into your account or Please log in to your account.

When to use into or in to

The single word into is a preposition that’s used in a variety of ways, including to mean “toward the inside of” (He poured milk into the glass) or “against” (I accidentally walked into the wall) or to express a change or transformation (The caterpillar morphed into a butterfly).

The separate words in and to often appear alongside each other in sentences that use idiomatic phrasal verbs or infinitives. In these cases, you’ll need to use the entire context of the sentence to determine what exactly is being said.

For example:

  • I heard a loud noise in the garage, so I went in to see what happened. (Here, in is a preposition and to is a function word used to introduce the infinitive form of see.)
  • We’ll never give in to your demands. (Here, give in is an idiomatic phrasal verb meaning “to yield”; to often follows this verb to indicate who or what is being yielded to.)

Sometimes, into and in to can be used interchangeably, especially in cases when a phrasal verb is being used but the meaning of into is appropriate. For example, these sentences have the same meaning and are both considered acceptable:

  • I logged into my account.
  • I logged in to my account.

However, you need to be careful not to accidentally use into when you are using a phrasal verb ending with in alongside the word to in cases when into is not what’s meant (such as when to is used after the phrasal verb to indicate a direction or a receiver of an action).

For example:

  • Don’t forget to turn your homework in to your teacher.

The sentence uses the phrasal verb turn in, meaning “to hand in” or “to deliver.” Using into instead of in to in this sentence could be taken as an instruction to magically transform your homework into your teacher, which is obviously not what the sentence is meant to convey.

Into is not the only preposition that can cause this kind of confusion. Check our guide to into vs. on to.

Examples of into and in to used in a sentence

Let’s dig into some examples of how the word into and the separate words in and to are typically used in sentences.

  • The bus drove into the tunnel.
  • The wizard transformed into a huge dragon.
  • The fridge smelled strange, so I looked in to see what was causing the odor.
  • I remember seeing the lifeguard dive in to save me.
  • This is my first time calling in to the show.
  • I heard a loud noise inside the shed so I went in to investigate.
  • I signed in to access my account, but I still haven’t been able to get into the site.

Brush up on how to use "too," "two," and "to"!

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