Word Choice – Into, in, or in to

BizWritingTip reader: “When do you use in versus into? I also have seen in to. Are they interchangeable?”

BizWritingTip response: These are tricky questions – often requiring some thought on the part of the writer. The preposition “into” is used to imply movement or change or contact.

Examples (correct)

Please have the brochure translated into French. (This statement implies a change.)

I went into the boardroom yesterday. (This statement implies movement.)

I ran into Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie. (Contact – lots of contact)

“Into” can also refer to time.

Example (correct)

Surely, winter will not continue into April.

“In” implies a position or location.

Examples (correct)

The figures can be found in the annual report. ?The managers are in the gym.

“In to” are two separate words. The “in” part relates to the verb before and the “to” part relates to the upcoming word.

Examples (correct)

All reports should be sent in to your manager for approval. (“Sent in” is a verb phrase.)

Roger dropped in to see me yesterday. (“Dropped in” is also a verb phrase.)

Let’s go in to dinner. (You couldn’t go into dinner unless you were planning to climb into the oven.)

Here’s a trick: If you can drop the in without losing the meaning, the correct term will be in to. (Let’s go to dinner.)

Aren’t you glad we got in to this?