I’m going to tackle this in parts.
- “Into” versus “in”
- “Into” versus “in to”
- Sample sentences
“Into” Versus “In”
When you use in, you’re indicating position.
Her phone was in her pocket.
When you use into in a sentence, you’re indicating movement; an action is happening.
She stuffed her phone into her backpack.
“Into” Versus “In to”
Into is a preposition that has many definitions, but they all generally relate to direction and motion.
On the other hand, in by itself can be an adverb, preposition, adjective, or noun. To by itself is a preposition or an adverb or part of an infinitive, such as to fly. Sometimes in and to just end up next to each other. Some examples will help!
Motion or Direction
He walked into the room.
(Which direction was he going? Into the room. In the above sentence into is a preposition.)
Squiggly walked into the lamppost by accident.
(Into is a preposition showing motion and direction.)
“Step into the shower.”
(Into indicates movement and it is a preposition.)
In or To Are Part of the Verb
We broke in to the room.
(Broke in is a phrasal verb. The word in belongs with broke. The word to is a preposition to tell the reader where the action of the verb happened. Where did you break in to? The room.)
Squiggly walked in to hear Aardvark talking about the surprise party.
(Because to is part of the verb hear [to hear, an infinitive], keep it separate from in.)
Infographic images courtesy of Shutterstock.