Prepositions that express movement toward something are to, onto, and into. To, onto, and into can be defined in the same way as at, in, and on (which explain the relationships of point, surface, area and volume. See Prepositions of Place or Location.)
to is used
as an ordinary preposition with verbs of movement
such as move, go, transfer, walk, run, swim, ride, drive, fly, travel.
Note: All these verbs (except transfer) can be used with toward, as well as with to. Be aware that to suggests movement toward a specific point, and toward suggests movement in a general direction without actually arriving at a specific goal or destination.
go home now.
(I must arrive at my home.)
walk toward the park.
(Walk in the direction of the park; we may or may not arrive there.)
drove toward the seaside. (He was going in that direction, but he may not actually go there
will agree to
let you join us. (I am willing to allow you to be with us.)
leave on Saturday. (Her intent is to leave on that day.)
have a leave of absence from work. (He desired time off from work.)
Annie had to teach when CC was ill. (Annie was obligated to teach.)
Shawn climbed in/into the bathtub. (Both
in and into are correct. Choose one.)
Patricia fell onto the
of the action of falling)
Patricia is on the ground. (position
jumped into the
of the action jumped)
Mario is in the river. (position of Mario)
threw her coat into the closet. Her
coat is in the
went into the library.
went in. (not into, because in is the last word in the sentence)
drove into the garage at 6 p.m.
They drove in yesterday. (yesterday is an adverbial showing when, so in is the correct preposition to use.)
Into may be used as the last word
(with the exception of the adverbial) in a question that asks who,
when, what about the subject.
sort of mess has the dog gotten into now?
(now is an adverbial showing when)
Now, what sort of mess did the dog get in?
b) Using in or into with the verb move:
followed by a clause showing reason or purpose that indicates
approaching. Move in is a phrasal verb and is sometimes an idiom.
The gangsters moved in to take over the town.
is used with move, it's used as an
ordinary preposition and means moving something from one place to another:
We will move into the new house by the end of the month. (bring all belongings and take possession of the house.)
a) With verbs of motion, onto and on are usually interchangeable.
Daniel bounced on/onto the floor.
Peter climbed on/onto the fence.
Note: Some motion verbs indicate that the subject causes itself or some other object to be located in a specific place. Some of these verbs can only be used with on. Others can be used with both on and onto. There are also times when the word "add" is used alone, or used with the word to.
She wants to add to the wedding invitation list.
"Your behavior is adding to my stress," warned Mother.
I would like to have one more room added to/onto the house.
Important note: Simple prepositions can combine with verbs, but compound prepositions cannot!
b) With verbs showing a stationary position, on or in are used as the ordinary meanings of those prepositions.
The car is in the driveway.
The cat is in the garage
William is in the barn.
Megan is on the couch.
Pete is on the ladder.
The newspaper is on the table.