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    #1

    "on to" vs "onto"

    Hi

    I've been wondering what the difference in usage between "on to" and "onto" is. Any comments are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

    Nico

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    #2

    Re: "on to" vs "onto"

    Quote Originally Posted by nico View Post
    Hi

    I've been wondering what the difference in usage between "on to" and "onto" is. Any comments are greatly appreciated.

    Cheers

    Nico
    In "on to", the "on" belongs to a "phrasal verb", such as "move on".

    After solving the equation 5x=15 and helping his friend choose a girl to invite to the movies, he moved on to bigger problems.

    "Onto" is a preposition used with any verbs, including phrasal verbs, that do not end with the word "on".

    She ran onto the pavement. I went up onto the platform.


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    #3

    Re: "on to" vs "onto"

    This doesn't explain the following, though.

    "But it opened out a little eventually, and at that point Rebus pulled the Saab up on to the verge." (Ian Rankin, "The Falls")

    Or does it?

    Nico

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    #4

    Re: "on to" vs "onto"

    Quote Originally Posted by nico View Post
    This doesn't explain the following, though.

    "But it opened out a little eventually, and at that point Rebus pulled the Saab up on to the verge." (Ian Rankin, "The Falls")

    Or does it?

    Nico
    You're right, it doesn't, unless you consider "pull up on" a phrasal verb.

    In the end, everyone has their own sense of language. I would write "pulled the Saab up onto the verge", but Rankin has not. Perhaps he wanted to stress that the Saab wound up on the verge. Ultimately, however, this shows very well why grammatical explanations often obscure the language or fail to describe it fully.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: "on to" vs "onto"

    'To pull up on', is a common enough collocation although I would have thought that in this context 'pulled up on the verge' would be better, but in literature anything goes, and rightly so.

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #6

    Cool Re: "on to" vs "onto"

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    'To pull up on', is a common enough collocation although I would have thought that in this context 'pulled up on the verge' would be better, but in literature anything goes, and rightly so.
    On and onto sometimes mean the same, and at other times different things.
    Onto normally indicates movement from one position to another one; on normally indicates location:

    The child jumped onto the bed. (before getting onto the bed, the child was somewhere else)
    vs
    The child jumped on the bed. (the child was on the bed all the time while jumping)

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