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    #1

    into - division or multiplication??

    Hello!

    I'm in dispute with a guy who says we use 'into' for multiplying numbers. 'Two into two is four'. He even sent me a link to some english website where they used 'into' this way.

    However, all the dictionaries I checked including Oxford, Longman, Macmilland and Webster unambiguousy say that 'into' is used for division. "3 into 24 is 8".

    How come this preposition has two different usages??

    Could you shed any light on this?

    Thank you in advance.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: into - division or multiplication??

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    How come this preposition has two different usages??
    It doesn't.
    You and the dictionaries are right. Your friend and the website are wrong.

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    #3

    Re: into - division or multiplication??

    ----- Not an English teacher -----

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    I'm in dispute with a guy who says we use 'into' for multiplying numbers. 'Two into two is four'. He even sent me a link to some english website where they used 'into' this way.

    However, all the dictionaries I checked including Oxford, Longman, Macmilland and Webster unambiguousy say that 'into' is used for division. "3 into 24 is 8".
    In mathematics it is very common to find restricted circles where people have a particular way of speaking, mainly concerning math jargon and math formulas. And since math is an international language, it spreads out quickly all over the world through the so called 'International English'.

    I believe 'into' originally was used related to the distributive property of multiplication towards addition, so an expression like a.(b+c) was read 'a into b plus c'. From that it is easy for people (international math students for instance) start reading a.b as 'a into b'.

    Also remember that are various varieties of English. Let us take Indian English as an example:
    "New words and new usages of standard words are introduced as well [...]
    For an Indian doing math, two into four means "2 x 4" ... "
    (Extracted from Language in India)

    You may also like to read these old related threads:
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...0414-into.html
    https://www.usingenglish.com/forum/a...tml#post124925

    PS Would you mind telling us the link sent by your friend you mentioned?

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    #4

    Re: into - division or multiplication??

    Interesting post. It might be used for the distributive case you mention, but you first encounter (at least in my American experience) the idea of "into" with division. How many times does 5 go into 15? Three. You learn that in elementary school.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: into - division or multiplication??

    I am an expert on neither Indian English nor the language of international mathematics students.

    I will therefore qualify my previous statement:

    You and the dictionaries are right. Your friend and the website are wrong, at least as far as the normal usage of the overwhelming majority of speakers of BrE is concerned.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: into - division or multiplication??

    US too. If you told a fourth-grade child that two into two is four, they would think you weren't very smart.

    This is the first time I've ever heard it used to mean "times."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: into - division or multiplication??


  4. 5jj's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: into - division or multiplication??


  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: into - division or multiplication??

    Indeed. I guess I'm a little surprised that anyone needed a "how-to" course in learning multiplication tables, as well. Don't use this in the UK or US.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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