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  1. Copy-editor's Avatar
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    #1

    Insight into

    Hello,

    I'm hoping some of you can help with a problem I've met today.

    How many feel that 'insight into (something)' is a bit tautological?

    Do you prefer 'This forum provides an insight into English grammar' or 'This forum provides an insight to English grammar'?

    Why?

  2. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Lightbulb Re: Insight into

    Quote Originally Posted by Copy-editor View Post
    Hello,

    I'm hoping some of you can help with a problem I've met today.

    How many feel that 'insight into (something)' is a bit tautological?

    Do you prefer 'This forum provides an insight into English grammar' or 'This forum provides an insight to English grammar'?

    Why?
    To my way of thinking, the first thing that comes into my mind, with the preposition to used, is that it (to) refers to the insight as an approach concerning English grammar as a whole, whereas into gives me an impression of dealing with it thoroughly, deeply and the like. That's just my feeling.
    Having said that, the only collocation I have come across is insight into.

  3. Copy-editor's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Insight into

    Thanks for the quick reply.

    So it's a gut thing for you? I think I follow your reasoning: 'to' puts the emphasis on the 'insight', whereas 'into' emphasises 'English grammar'.

    You touched on the tautology though. An insight is a deep understanding of something, so why do we use 'into' as well?

  4. engee30's Avatar
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    #4

    Thumbs up Re: Insight into

    Quote Originally Posted by Copy-editor View Post
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    So it's a gut thing for you? I think I follow your reasoning: 'to' puts the emphasis on the 'insight', whereas 'into' emphasises 'English grammar'. You must be something of a mind reader

    You touched on the tautology though. An insight is a deep understanding of something, so why do we use 'into' as well?
    That's the question for linguists, I reckon.
    I can't say it's a gut thing for me. Insight already has in in itself, so using into instead of to may well seem tautological.


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    #5

    Re: Insight into

    'insight' is the English rendition of the German 'einsicht'/Scandinavian 'insikt'.

    The prefix 'ein-' in German means 'uni-' - not 'in', so 'in/into' is not inherent in the word itself.

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    #6

    Re: Insight into

    That's interesting. "Insight" seems to occur in ME; I would therefore take it not as a rendering of "einsicht", but as a combination of "in" + "sight"; though perhaps "einsicht" and "insight" have a common ancestor. (The prefix "ein" can mean "one"; but in words such as "einatmen", "einbauen", "einbeschreiben", "einbringen", etc., it has the meaning "in".)

    As for "insight into", even if we privately regret the apparent redundancy, there is nothing we can do about it, as that's the standard phrase (not "insight to").

    Cf. "introduce X into Y", where Y = "the discussion", "the equation", etc. no other preposition will idiomatically serve.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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    #7

    Re: Insight into

    Maybe there are two ins at work- the outward one of sight and the inward one of the understanding. But then again, it is getting late here and maybe a sign of time for bed.

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    #8

    Re: Insight into

    Thus "in" in "insight" would signify "indwelling", and "into" would signify the direction of the insight. That seems reasonable.

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  5. Copy-editor's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Insight into

    Thanks to all for the use of your brains. I think there's a general consensus brewing.

    Champion website! I've a feeling I'll be using this a lot more.

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