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Which preposition is used with convert: to or into? For example, convert the requisition into (or to) a PO.

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closed as unclear what you're asking by Brian Hooper, TrevorD, p.s.w.g, JLG, Mitch Jul 27 '13 at 2:13

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Either can be used. e.g. "I've converted the measurements to metric", "I've converted my dollars into euros". –  p.s.w.g Jun 27 '13 at 20:28
    
    
Thanks for your advice. –  Smith Jun 27 '13 at 23:04
    
And tell us the context - because one answer may be more appropriate is some contexts and the other in different contexts. –  TrevorD Jun 28 '13 at 0:00
    
Nothing wrong with the question. Perhaps, it could be asked on ELL, though. –  Kris Jun 28 '13 at 6:35

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Examining these pairings:

  • I converted my Euros into Dollars.
  • I converted my Euros to Dollars.

  • I converted my stocks into bonds
  • I converted my stocks to bonds

  • *I converted into Islam.
  • I converted to Islam.

  • *I converted my car into natural gas.
  • I converted my car to natural gas.

  • ?I converted my car from gasoline into natural gas.
  • I converted my car from gasoline to natural gas.

The examples marked with an asterisk do not work. The example with the question mark comes across oddly. The rest of them are perfectly fine.

The reason why the asterisk examples don't work is because in those cases it sounds like you are now a religion and your car is a wisp of gas. The questionable example comes across oddly for the same reason, except that it sounds like your car used to consist of gasoline but now it is is going to be blown away in the next wind.

So, the answer is, with "convert" you can usually use "into" and "to" interchangeably, but not in all cases, and there may not be an explicable rule for recognizing those exceptional cases.

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As @p.s.w.g comments, either can be used in most contexts. Neither preposition is "better" than the other, and there's no difference in meaning. But as this chart shows, into is still more common (though to is gradually catching up)...

enter image description here


That's the situation when to convert is used to mean to change [something] into another form, substance, state, or product. But when it means to persuade or induce [someone] to adopt a particular religion, faith, or belief (or simply to adopt a religion), it's almost always to...

He was converted to Christianity (88,900 results in Google Books)
He was converted into Christianity (28 results)

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