Into vs. In To: Your Guide To Knowing The Difference

Grammar and spelling can be tricky, even for the best of us.


Misusing into and in to is actually a very common grammar mistake  that people often get mixed up. If you’re one of those people who’s always unsure when to use into and when to use in to, then you’ll be glad to know that you’re not alone.


Here, we’ll go over the meaning of both terms, give you some examples of when they should be used, and then give you a pop quiz to test your newfound knowledge. Keep reading to learn the difference between into vs in to.


Source: Pixabay Alt text: blue pen sitting on an empty notebook


Into vs In to: What’s the Difference?

First things first: yes, these words have different meanings, so using the wrong one in your text can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.


So, what’s the actual difference between these two very similar terms? It’s simpler than you think.


In indicates a position, for example:


His socks were in the drawer.


Into implies that there’s some sort of motion or action, such as:


He shoved his socks into the drawer.


On its own, in can represent a number of things, like an adverb, adjective, preposition, and even a noun. To can be a preposition, adverb, or part of an infinitive.


Sometimes, these words are simply placed next to each other in a sentence, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they should always be written as one word.


Let’s take a closer look at some examples so you can get a better idea of when to use each term.


Examples of When to Use Into

If you’re unsure of when to use into in a sentence, think of whether or not you can say inside of or interior of instead. This will indicate that you should be using into instead of in to.


Again, into implies there is an action or some sort of movement happening, so look for clues within the rest of the sentence.


Here are some examples of when to use into:


  • The kids screamed as they jumped into the pool.
  • After hanging up, she tucked her phone back into her pocket.
  • Step into my office.
  • Henry walked into the door because he didn’t look where he was going.


You can also use into when answering “where” questions. For example:


  • Where did the dog go? He ran into the park.
  • Where are you going? I’m headed into the store.


As you can see in each example, there’s movement or action happening, so the motions indicate that you should use into.


Examples of When to Use In To

When in is part of the verb phrase, then that indicates you should keep in and to as two separate words. To works as part of the infinitive, such as to walk, or as a preposition, so when in is added in front of it, it’s working as an adverb.


Let’s take a look at some examples:


  • The criminal turned himself in to the police.
  • The lifeguard jumped in to save the boy from drowning.
  • My parents always taught me not to give in to peer pressure.
  • They won’t give in to the demands.


Using into in any of these sentences would change the meaning. Let’s look at the first sentence for example:


The criminal turned himself in to the police.


If the sentence read “the criminal turned himself into the police,” then that would imply that the criminal became the police, as if by magic. You can see here why it’s important to use the right term in a sentence, otherwise you risk confusing your reader.


How to Remember the Difference of Into vs In To

Source: Pixabay Alt text: Person holding pen over an notebook at a table


The best way to tell the difference between the two terms is to read your sentence out loud. This works well in general when you’re writing and you’re not sure if your sentence sounds right.


If you naturally pause between in and to, then it should probably be two words. However, if you don’t pause, then it’s probably one word. Of course, this test isn’t perfect, so it would be best to practice by reading and writing exercises of when to use each term in a sentence.


Into vs In To Cheat Sheet

Sometimes it’s helpful to visualize spelling and grammar rules in order to be able to identify mistakes in the future. This cheat sheet works as a guide to show you commonly used phrases and examples of when you should use in to and into.


In To Cheat Sheet

  • Log in (to Facebook)
  • Move in (to a new apartment)
  • Give in (to pressure)
  • Broke in (to a store)
  • Hand in (to your boss)
  • Go in (to the coffee shop)
  • Plug in (to charge)


Into Cheat Sheet

  • Get into (trouble)
  • Bump into (someone you know)
  • Break into (dance)
  • Turn into (a pumpkin)
  • Come into (some money)
  • Plug into (the charger)
  • Look into (the problem)


Pop Quiz

Choose whether to use in to or into in the following sentences to see if you’ve understood the difference. The answers are below, but no peeking!


  1. The kids were afraid of going into/in to the attic because it was dark.
  2. My laptop is almost dead, I need to plug into/in to charge.
  3. I just need to run into/in to the store for some milk.
  4. She was talented at turning portraits into/in to cartoon characters.
  5. Don’t forget to hand this note into/in to your teacher.
  6. I don’t like rap music, I just can’t get into/in to it.
  7. The CDC recommends coughing into/in to your elbow to avoid spreading bacteria.




  1. Into
  2. In to
  3. Into
  4. Into
  5. In to
  6. Into
  7. into


To Wrap Up

If you did well on the pop quiz, then congrats! You’ve mastered the difference between into and in to. If you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped, then take a break and review this into vs in to guide when you feel refreshed.


It’s not always easy knowing all the different rules in the English languages. Luckily, you can get help on campus from advisors. If you’re a student at University of the People, consult with our student advisors for more help with your writing so that you can ace your next assignment.

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