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General Writing and Grammar Help/I gave "into / in to" tempation.

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Question
Dear Ted,
I'm not sure if you say "give in to temptation" or "give into temptation", or if both ways are grammatically correct. In other words, do both of the following sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. I gave in to temptation and smoked.
2. I gave into temptation and smoked.

Answer
Dear Glen:

I'm not sure if you say "give in to temptation" or "give into temptation", or if
both ways are grammatically correct. In other words, do both of the following
sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. I gave in to temptation and smoked.
2. I gave into temptation and smoked.

*** MY PREFERENCE IS #1.

*** Here is what causes the problem:  You have two prepositions appearing together.  They are "usually" considered to be one unit, called a "phrasal preposition."  For example, "the game was cancelled DUE TO the storm."

Some people consider "in" and "to" to be a phrasal preposition -- two separate words acting as one unit.  It is becoming very common for the two words to be combined = into.  I would NOT combine the two that are in your example.  Use "into" as a preposition that means "entering."
EXAMPLE:  The bride and groom went INTO the church.  From the Lord's Prayer:  "Lead us not INTO temptation."  The word "lead" clearly indicates being led or taken somewhere, which is related to entering.

I would use "in to" when you are indicating "giving up" as in temptation -- OTHER THAN BEING LED BY SOMEONE ELSE.

Here are more examples from http://www.freedictionary.com

give in
1 to stop fighting and admit defeat; to yield The soldiers were outnumbered and gave in to the enemy.
2 to hand or bring (something) to someone (often a person in authority) Do we have to give in our books at the end of the lesson?


*** The slight difference is hard to describe.  I hope I have done a good job.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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