Onto vs. On to
In this lesson, we're gonna delve into the more grammatically confusing words. Are you ready? Do you still wanna learn? Let's go.
What Is Their Difference?
'Onto' is a preposition and 'on to' is just a combination of the particle 'on' in a phrasal verb plus the preposition 'to'. However, 'onto' refers to something moving from one place to the surface of another, whereas, 'on to' is used when 'on' is the particle of a phrasal verb.
As mentioned above, 'onto' is a preposition of movement indicating something going to the surface of another. Look at the examples below:
The snake crawled
The girl nervously stepped
'On to', on the other hand, is when we have a phrasal verb, and 'on' is the particle of the phrasal verb. Look at the examples below:
While I keep talking to him, hold
You guys looked
In fact, they share no similarities. Look:
Did you log
Are They Interchangeable?
Although they look somehow similar, they cannot be used interchangeably, because 'on' in 'on to' is part of a phrasal verb, whereas 'onto' is a preposition all by itself. When 'onto' is used it refers to something coming on the surface of another thing, whereas, 'come on to' refers to being sexually interested in someone. Compare:
✓ The body came
X The body came
As you can see here, 'on' is a particle of the phrasal verb.