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    #1

    On to vs onto?

    Hi,

    I'm not sure if I should use 'onto' or 'on to' in this sentence. To me, both sound very possible.

    When these strong waves crashed on to the beach, they could have returned back into the sea with enough force to carry some of these large rocks out into the open water.

    I know 'on to' refers to a separate adverb and preposition, versus just a preposition for the former. Can anyone help me on which one is more appropriate?

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    #2

    Re: On to vs onto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulysses View Post
    Hi,

    I'm not sure if I should use 'onto' or 'on to' in this sentence. To me, both sound very possible.

    When these strong waves crashed on to the beach, they could have returned back into the sea with enough force to carry some of these large rocks out into the open water.

    I know 'on to' refers to a separate adverb and preposition, versus just a preposition for the former. Can anyone help me on which one is more appropriate?
    NOT A TEACHER.

    It should be "onto"; however, some people might disagree. One of the teachers who frequents this forum once said "on to" is always correct.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: On to vs onto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen165 View Post
    It should be "onto"; however, some people might disagree. One of the teachers who frequents this forum once said "on to" is always correct.
    I agree that 'onto' is correct. I'm not sure about "on to" always being correct, but in some instances - like this - it is certainly not the best choice.
    The same applies to "in to" and "into".

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    #4

    Re: On to vs onto?

    I'd go for onto here. And there are cases where I would use on to- we're going to move on to the next topic, for instance.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: On to vs onto?

    I would use "onto" here too. I would say that "onto" usually describes a physical movement of a person or object from one location to another physical location.

    The waves crashed onto the beach.
    The avalanche crashed onto the roof of the hotel.
    The tree fell onto his car.

    I'm moving on to a new job.
    He's moved on to a career in television.

  3. 5jj's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: On to vs onto?

    I do not disagree with emsr2d2, Allen165, Raymott or Tdol.

    You will, however, encounter aged luddites such as fivejedjon who believe that onto should always be written as two words. They may have been written as one word as long ago as 1581, but that, for 5jj, is fairly recent. .

    If you really want to write them as one word, then re-read posts #3, 4 and 5.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: On to vs onto?

    I'm a native speaker and I write for a living, and I *still* struggle with "onto" and "into." My basic rule is that if it shows the direction of something that is moving, you can use the single-word version.

    Even then, I'm not confident.

    For example, the girl ran into the house, slamming the door shut behind her.
    The car ran off the road, through the thick hedges, and into the house, causing significant damage.

    Clearly the car did not enter the house (more than a couple inches, anway). Is it still "into"?

    (I'm not really looking for the answer -- just trying to show you that you're not alone in having a hard time with this.)
    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.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: On to vs onto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I'm a native speaker and I write for a living, and I *still* struggle with "onto" and "into." My basic rule is that if it shows the direction of something that is moving, you can use the single-word version.

    Even then, I'm not confident.

    For example, the girl ran into the house, slamming the door shut behind her.
    The car ran off the road, through the thick hedges, and into the house, causing significant damage.

    Clearly the car did not enter the house (more than a couple inches, anway). Is it still "into"?

    (I'm not really looking for the answer -- just trying to show you that you're not alone in having a hard time with this.)
    I think your second example, though, is a perfect example!

    If you said the car ran "in to" the house, that would definitely suggest that it entered the building.

    "To run into" is surely the phrasal verb you're using here, to mean "to collide with".

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: On to vs onto?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I'm a native speaker and I write for a living, and I *still* struggle with "onto" and "into." My basic rule is that if it shows the direction of something that is moving, you can use the single-word version.

    Even then, I'm not confident.

    ...
    I have to admit that I rely on native-speaker (phonological) intuition - which is no help for students.

    However, it's worth understanding the phonology, so that after you've chosen the right variant you pronounce it properly:

    in Br Eng (I'm not sure about other variants) -

    'onto' - /`ɒntǝ/ or /`ɒntʊ/ (depending on the following sound)
    'on to' - /ɒn tu:/


    /`ɒntǝ/ - in, for example, 'the cat jumped onto the table'
    /`ɒntʊ/ - in, for example, 'the cat jumped onto each table'
    /ɒn tu:/ - in, for example, 'Keep right on to the end of the road'


    b

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