General Writing and Grammar Help/Enter, get into

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Question
Dear Ted:

Is there a difference between "to ENTER something" and "to get into something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Also, should I say, "to enter a serial killer's mind" or "to get into a serial killer's mind"?

By the way, is it "to enter/get into a serial killer's mind" or "to enter/get into the mind of a serial killer"?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Is there a difference between "to ENTER something" and "to get into something"?

If so, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

**** The two phrases almost always mean the same thing, but "to ENTER something" is a more formal way of saying it.


EXAMPLES:

Were you able to ENTER the bank before it closed?
Were you able to GET INTO the bank before it closed?

We ENTERED the park through the main gate.
We GOT INTO the park by climbing over a fence.

Note that in the above examples, "GOT INTO" suggests that we did something improper or illegal.

We also say, "Don't GET INTO trouble."  We would NEVER say, "Don't ENTER trouble."

Keep ENTER for the formal, "positive" sentences.  Save "GET INTO" for casual usage OR for any situation that might be a problem.

Also, should I say, "to enter a serial killer's mind" or "to get into a serial
killer's mind"?

*** In this case, GET INTO is the better phrase, although ENTER CAN be used.  GET INTO is preferable, because the serial killer probably doesn't want you in his mind, so your GETTING there is going against his desire.  [a negative]

By the way, is it "to enter/get into a serial killer's mind" or "to enter/get
into the mind of a serial killer"?

*** Either one.  I prefer the second version, but that is just my opinion.

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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