John Dixon, independent medical writer and trainer in scientific writing skills, provides a useful tip for medical writers who work in MedComms.

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Recorded 17 July 2019. Produced by

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Hi, I’m John Dixon, a trainer in scientific writing, and here’s a bite that I hope may help you with your writing.

When should we separate ‘in and to’ and when should we keep them together as ‘into’ [NEXT SLIDE]

Separate in and to when their meaning is separate, or… ‘in’ is part of a phrasal verb [NEXT]
Use into when the sentence implies motion or direction …or… transformation …or… ‘into’ is part of a phrasal verb

Let’s explain this and look at some examples [NEXT SLIDE]

We should separate ‘in’ and ‘to’ when their meaning is separate:

For example:

She slipped in … [PAUSE] … to take up the new job last month.
They accompanied the speaker in … [PAUSE] … to dinner. [NEXT]

We should also separate ‘in’ and ‘to’ when ‘in’ is part of a phrasal verb. A phrasal verb is a verb that has both a verb and another element such as a preposition or adverb: for example ‘give up’ or ‘turn in’ – although beware, because there are many phrasal verbs using the element ‘in’:

Here are some examples of phrasal verbs using ‘in’:

Bring this new idea in to the discussion. [‘bring in’ is a phrasal verb meaning ‘introduce’]
She will drop in to see the tutor. [ ‘drop in’ is a phrasal verb meaning ‘arrive casually’]
We log in to a computer with a password [‘log in’ is a phrasal verb meaning ‘gain access’] [NEXT SLIDE]

Use ‘into’ as one word when the sentence implies motion or transformation
So, for examples of motion:
We went into the lecture room.
Potassium is actively pumped into the cell. [NEXT]

And for examples of transformation:

Converting dirty water into clean water is important to prevent cholera.
The warehouse was converted into accommodation for relatives.[NEXT]

Use ‘into’ as one word when ‘into’ is part of a phrasal verb – even if motion or transformation isn’t a clear idea in the sentence:

For example:

We will not go into the details in this paper. [‘go into’ is a phrasal verb meaning ‘get involved in’]
They did not buy into this theory. [‘buy into’ is a phrasal verb meaning ‘believe’] [NEXT]

Well, I hope that’s helpful. For more bites, visit

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[For the avoidance of doubt: this video is intended to be freely accessible to all. Please feel free to share and use however you like. Cheers Peter Llewellyn, Director NetworkPharma Ltd and Founder of the MedComms Networking Community activity at]