I'm writing an op-ed with this sentence:

"It was initially – in my mind – a list of people you could ask about whoever it is you’re looking into."

According to my understanding of this link 'into' is the correct one, but I'm not sure if I should be using 'in to' instead.

  • 1
    You say you’ve found the description on that page you link to, which tells you the correct form is into; but you’re not sure if you should use into or in to. Why is that, exactly? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 23 '14 at 21:10
  • because I'm not sure when the words are supposed to be separated and when not. Like 'everyday' vs 'every day' these are phrases that have different meanings because of the space. – shachna Nov 24 '14 at 18:27

The "to" in "into" means towards:

toward the inside or middle of something and about to be contained, surrounded, or enclosed by it

The only case I can think of off the top of my head to use "in to" over "into" would be in something like:

She went in to see if anyone was there.

In this case "to" means "for the purpose of doing" instead of "towards".

She went in for the purpose of seeing if anyone was there.

And, often, there could be something else between the two words and "in" would likely be replaced with "into":

She went into the house to see if anyone was there.


"To look into" is the phrasal verb meaning "to investigate". "To look in" would be to cast a look inside.

  • ‘To look in’ would also have the preposition fuse with to in a construction like this. “She looked into the kitchen”, for example. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 23 '14 at 21:08
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - Sometimes, but not always. For instance: "She looked in the closet, hoping to find her red shoes there". ("Look in" also has other meanings, of course: "Why don't you look in on your way home?" = "Feel free to pay us a brief visit on your way home".) – Erik Kowal Nov 23 '14 at 21:33
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    @ErikKowal I think you misunderstood my meaning: I meant that if there is a to, it will be fused with in. There doesn't necessarily have to be one at all, of course, but for the purposes of whether to write into or in to, ‘investigate’ and ‘cast a look inside’ behave the same. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Nov 23 '14 at 21:35
  • @JanusBahsJacquet - OK... thanks for clarifying. :) – Erik Kowal Nov 23 '14 at 21:45
  • This doesn't answer the question, which is about whether or not to use the space because for some cases (i.e. 'everyday' vs 'every day') that changes the meaning. – shachna Nov 24 '14 at 18:29

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