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When should “into” be used rather than “in to,” and vice versa?

I was recently submitting ("checking in") some data to a database and composed an email to my team informing them of the submission. What's the proper grammar to use here:

The changes are checked into the database

or

The changes are checked in to the database

What's the rule of thumb for proper usage between the two? Is there even a difference?

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marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt, Joshua Karstendick, Marthaª, Kosmonaut Nov 18 '10 at 19:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
@RegDwight, I agree. The other question even has a much better answer. –  Marthaª Nov 18 '10 at 19:26
    
In my case, it is more correct to check code into TFS. –  JeffSahol Jun 27 '11 at 17:25
    
Actually, the one reported by @RegDwight has been closed in favor of the one reported by @MrHen. –  kiamlaluno Jun 27 '11 at 18:04
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6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In this case, definitely write it as separate words, because the "in" is actually part of the idiom "checked in".

I think that's probably as close as you're gonna get to a rule of thumb: write into as one word, unless it's actually functioning as two different words - for example, if the "in" is part of an expression such as "checked in".

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No, "into" does not require that the destination be a physical place. One can be brought into poverty, a relationship, a realisation ...

So I would definitely check code into Subversion.

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I hadn't considered these other, even more abstract, concepts. The important thing, I think, is that after being "brought into" those things, it makes sense at a conceptual level of "being inside" those things. Not so much with turning a wallet "in to" a policeman. –  Ben Hocking Jun 27 '11 at 17:21
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Um, but the verb here is not to check. The verb is to check in. So to check into is not even an option. The actual choice is between check in to and check in into. –  RegDwigнt Jun 27 '11 at 17:26
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@RegDwight. Hmm, good point. Or "checkin to". But my "check code into", though it might be a haplology, is definitely what I would say or write. –  Colin Fine Jun 27 '11 at 17:28
    
@RegDwight: good point. I did a quick Google search with "check in to a hotel", and it responded with, "Did you mean 'check into a hotel'?" Thus sayeth Google. (Not that this proves anything, of course.) –  Ben Hocking Jun 27 '11 at 17:31
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IMHO the natural idiom is to check in when using the verb intransitively, and to check into X when using the verb with an object. –  JSBձոգչ Jun 27 '11 at 17:33
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There's actually evidence for treating a case such as "check in/to SVN" as a kind of elliptical form of "check in into", when you consider the possible combinations when you turn the sentence round. Compare the possibility of the following:

Which repository did you check it into?

Which repository did you check it in into?

Into which repository did you check it in?

with the impossibility of the following:

*Into which repository did you check it?

*To which repository did you check it in?

From this point of view, it seems a bit more logical to write "check (in) into", whether or not you include the second "in".

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My very thoughts. In OP's case it just so happens that to check in is a compound verb phrase of special relevance to packages like SVN. –  FumbleFingers Jun 27 '11 at 18:44
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I think both are definitely allowable.

  • You can treat the verb 'check in' separately from 'toSVN because there is a direct object possible, for example 'my code':

I checked in my code to SVN.

This shows that the 'in' and 'to' are separable.

  • You can use the preposition 'into' with 'check'. SVN, and other abstract repositories, still have a semantic connotation of being a receptacle or having an interior. Using the separability check:

I checked my code into SVN.

This shows that SVN acts like it has an interior.

The verb 'to log in' acts similarly.

Which is preferred? I find 'checked in to SVN' better than 'checked into SVN', because I tend to use 'checkin' more often. Compare contrast with 'check out': I like 'check out my code' but 'check out of svn' (and despite appearances, 'out of' corresponds to 'into').

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Good answer. As I indicated in another comment, I would probably use "check into" most of the time, but I think "check in to" is fine as well (as you said, compare it to "log in", e.g. "log in to the website"). The ones that I completely disagree with are those that make a verb phrase that combines the verb and the preposition into one word (e.g. "login", "setup", which I think are acceptable as nouns, but not as verbs...but that's probably a topic for another thread). –  Andy Jun 28 '11 at 14:04
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In the sense that your source can be said to reside inside of the repository, I would argue that "into" is the correct usage here. Compare with the example at your linked site (the URL needs to be fixed, btw) with either turning something "in to " a person (but it's not going into the person), or putting something "into" something else.

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I agree with this. Compare "Turn your homework in to the teacher" with "Check your code into SVN." –  Andy Jun 27 '11 at 18:48
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I would treat "check in" as a compound term, and so, check some code in to a repository, rather than checking code into a repository.

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