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How did you get into it?

How did you get interested in it?

Do the examples above mean the same?

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Getting into something can have several connotations:

  • Being interested: I got really into cats after seeing how kittens were born.
  • Being involved in (especially employment): I got into the plastics field right after college.
  • Being accepted (university, program): He got into Harvard because his GPA was a solid 4.0.
  • Opening or entering: I got into the safe using dynamite.

Therefore, yes, you can use them interchangeably, but get into may be ambiguous compared to get interested in.

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    To add to David M's answer; i would consider the subject, the context and the target audience to help determine which phrase to use. If my interest was water temp. for making coffee, then saying "I'm into hot water" could be misinterpreted as getting into trouble. Mar 23 '14 at 14:20
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In some cases, they mean the same thing and in others they don't. You could either ask someone about how they got into fishing, for example, or how they got interested in fishing. An example of when they wouldn't mean the same is, as druciferre said, when asking someone about their profession. You could ask someone how they got into interior designing, but not how they got interested in interior designing, as far as a job is concerned.

However, 'How did you get interested in it?' is not great grammar. Instead of saying 'to get interested' you would say 'to become interested'.

You would be better with the two options:

How did you get into it?

How did you become interested in it?

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  • Why can't you ask how they got interested in their profession???? I don't understand this logical fallacy. It's a different question, perhaps, but still valid.
    – David M
    Mar 23 '14 at 13:57
  • Sorry @DavidM, I realise now that I didn't word that very well. You can ask someone about how they became interested in their profession in terms of a general interest. I was talking about getting into a job in that profession - obviously you can't say get interested in when talking about getting a job in a certain field.
    – Poben
    Mar 23 '14 at 14:01
  • Yes. That is a better way of stating it.
    – David M
    Mar 23 '14 at 14:02
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Getting into is a much broader phrase. It doesn't imply that you are interested in something or even like it.

The knowledge of person asking the question can play a significant role in the difference as well. For example, you may work as a travelling salesman, dislike your job, and be discussing it with someone who knows you are not exactly interested in your job.

In this scenario, you might expect them to ask:

How did you get into it?

Since they know you're not interested in your job, it would be pointless for them to ask:

How did you get interested in it?

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  • I disagree with most of this. I'm really into cats. I'm really into computers. You may certainly ask "How did you get interested in this?" The answer just might not be as expected: "They offered me a paycheck." A question isn't invalidated by the answer.
    – David M
    Mar 23 '14 at 13:42
  • @DavidM, as I said, you would not ask them that question if you already know they're not interested in it. Mar 23 '14 at 13:46
  • Why would you ask if you already know? The question is then dumb, not invalid.
    – David M
    Mar 23 '14 at 13:55
  • 1. It's what I meant by someone who knows this to ask you... 2. My point exactly. If they already know you're not interested in it, they might ask you how you got into it, but they would not ask you why you're interested in it. Mar 23 '14 at 13:57
  • Again, the question is still valid. Just not useful. You have to be careful about making statements of non-equivalence. It still means what it means, whether contextually appropriate or not.
    – David M
    Mar 23 '14 at 14:00

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