INTO VS. ON: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
When we use prepositions in English, it can often be confusing to know which one to use in which context. Two commonly used prepositions that can have quite similar meanings are ‘into’ and ‘on’. Even though they might seem interchangeable, they each have their distinct uses that can vary depending on the context of the sentence.
In this article, we will delve deeper into the differences between ‘into’ and ‘on’. You will learn the various ways in which these words can be used, and when it is appropriate to use them in different scenarios.
‘Into’ is a preposition that denotes movement or direction. It implies that something is moving from outside and transitioning to the inside. The word ‘into’ is used to depict certain actions, such as entering, inserting, diving, or immersing. For example:
– John dived into the pool
– She put the pizza into the oven
– The cat jumped into the box
In each of the above sentences, the object referenced is moving or transitioning from the outside inwards. ‘Into’ always denotes a sense of motion that culminates in something being inside.
‘Into’ can also be used as an adverb to mean ‘completely’ or ‘thoroughly’. For instance:
– The cake was cut into small slices
– She broke into a song
– The trees had grown into a thick forest
‘On,’ on the other hand, is a preposition that indicates a surface. It typically depicts an object in a stable and immobile position. It refers to the position of an object above the surface or attached to it. For example:
– The book is on the table
– The dog is on the sofa
– The bird sat on the branch
In each case, the object is in a stable position, and it could be stationary, as in the second example, or moving, as in the third example.
‘On’ can also be used as an adverb to show a general location, for example:
– The train is stopping on platform 4
– The shop is located on the main street
– He parked the car on the curb
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ON & INTO
The primary difference between “into” and “on” is the direction or the position of the object. ‘Into’ generally indicates movement and a shift of position, while ‘on’ implies a stationary object, object’s location or position, typically relating to a surface. If the object is in motion, you should use “into.” If the object is stable or stationary, you should use “on.”
Here are some examples of situations when you should use on vs. into:
1. Position of the object
When referring to the placement or positioning of an object in relation to another, ‘on’ is used to show the position of the object, whereas ‘into’ is used when something is entering into another thing. For example:
– The book is on the table.
– I put the cake into the fridge.
In the first sentence, ‘on’ is used to show the location of the book in reference to the table. In the second sentence, ‘into’ represents movement, indicating that the cake is being inserted into the fridge.
2. Movement of people or objects
Use “into” to describe movement that involves entering, diving, or inserting something inside something else.
– The boy jumped into the pool.
– She walked into the room.
– He put the kettle into the cupboard.
Use “on” when referring to the location of someone or something in a stable position.
– The dog lay on the bed.
– The teacher stood on the stage.
– The box was placed on the shelf.
3. Expressing time
‘On’ is used when expressing a particular day, date, or time. For example,
– We’ll be there on Monday
– The meeting is on Wednesday
– The event is on the 3rd of May
Use ‘into’ to show the point in time when something or someone became completed or ceased to exist. For example:
– The party went into the night
– The day turned into evening
– The company went into liquidation
1. Can we interchange “into” and “on” in all situations?
No, the choice between “into” and “on” depends on context. If the object is in motion, you should use into, but if it is stationary, you should use “on.”
2. Can ‘into’ replace ‘in?’
No, ‘into’ can’t fully replace’ in’ in some situations, because ‘into’ implies a motion or a transition, while ‘in’ indicates location.
3. Can we use ‘on’ for time?
Yes, ‘on’ is used when expressing specific days, dates, or times.
In conclusion, ‘on’ and ‘into’ are two prepositions that are used in different contexts. ‘Into’ suggests movement and entry, while ‘on’ indicates stability and refers to a surface. Understanding when to use these prepositions is important in speaking and writing accurately. Use the above guide to help ensure you do not mix the two up. Remember, context is always key when choosing ‘on’ vs. ‘into’.