In vs. Into

How to use "in" and "into" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

To indicate movement from one place to another, use into instead of in:

walked in the room = walked within or inside the room

walked into the room = entered the room

fell in the water

fell into the water

In informal English, this rule is often ignored, and in many contexts it is not necessary to clarify one’s meaning by using into instead of in. In fact, it can sometimes sound awkward to use into in place of the more natural in.

put the receipt into the bag

put the receipt in the bag = more natural-sounding

However, be sure to follow this rule when you need to ensure the clarity of your meaning or are writing in a formal context.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.