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Vol 106 / Issue 29

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T he long-awaited and much-postponed dinner with friends had fnally come off, after months of rescheduling. And at some point between the main course and the dessert, conversation somehow turned, as sometimes happens at a wordsmith's din- ner party, to issues of grammar. OK, one of my guests began, we all know the difference between in and into. But what about the difference between into and in to? Hmm, funny you should ask – I've been meaning to research this one. We use into "to indicate movement to- ward the inside of a place," as the late Jane Straus wrote on her Grammar Book blog. "In to is the adverb in followed by the preposi- tion to." The in/into distinction is straightforward: "He frst moved into the city 10 years ago, and he's been living in my neighborhood for the past fve." But the in to/into distinction is trickier. To get it right, be clear on what your verb is. If it's phrasal, you probably should stick with "in to" rather than "closing it up," as editors say. What's a phrasal verb? It's one made up of a verb plus an adverb or preposition. English is full of phrasal verbs: come in, go out, get on, get off, get across. They're often idiomatic. That is, they are "established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from the meanings of the individual words," as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it. Web- sites for English learners abound with lists of them, with defnitions. For example: "He turned his paper in to his teacher." The verb is "turn in," meaning "to deliver," and so you need "in to," not "into." But there's also an idiom "to turn into (some- thing)," meaning "to be changed or trans- formed": "He turned into a fne young man once he'd grown up." That one takes "into." You might write in to your congressman, but an editor will sometimes write into a re- porter's story material from a wire service. The close-up question also arises with log in and log on. (Some purist techies insist that log in is correct only with reference to Linux systems, but I think that distinction is lost on the masses, including the techie masses.) Both "log" verbs can easily be seen as phrasal, and therefore requiring "in to" or "on to," respectively: I logged in to my account. Here's how Ms. Straus put it in an ex- change with a reader on this subject: "The real question to ask is, 'Is there actual en- trance?' If so, use 'into.' " But somewhat later she opined, " 'Into' implies entrance, which one could say is meant fguratively here, even if not literally. Therefore, I would ... say that either into or in to is acceptable." What about "tune in"? It's clearly a phrasal verb. But here are some usage ex- amples from Oxford Dictionaries: "you must tune into the needs of loved ones" (illustrat- ing tune in) and then, to illustrate be tuned in: "it's important to be tuned in to your child's needs." We have "into" with one, and "in to" with the other. What's up with that? Is it the dis- tinction between the action of tuning in and the state of being tuned in that matters? Per- haps. That would be analogous to the earlier example of moving into/living in. However much we long for clear-cut rules, some of these questions may have more than one reasonable answer. And we nitpickers may just have to live with that. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. As little kids, my brother and I watched history in the making. Nine-year-old Chris Hadfield also watched that TV broadcast. Years later that Ontario farm boy fulfilled his dream and grew up to be com - mander of the International Space Station. Dur- ing his five-month stay there, he became an online celebrity, posting videos that shared in - sights into his life and work in space. Many things point to humanity's yearning to know more of the infinite than our finite earth- bound perspective can give us: the popularity of Mr. Hadfield's videos; the surge of interest in pri - vate space travel, asteroid mining, and Mars; the beauty of two decades of images from the Hub - ble Space Telescope; and, of course, the theories about the origin and makeup of Earth and the universe. I suspect the weightlessness we see the astronauts experiencing entices us to think that maybe even a glimpse of infinity might cut us loose from the burdens that weigh us down. What can be more liberating than a true view of our infinite nature as God's creation? Who hasn't gazed up to the heavens on a starry night and wondered about the magnifi - cence of it all? We look to the broad expanse of the heavens for profound answers. Even in Bible times, the shepherd boy David, who would one day become a king, lay on the grass and won - dered, "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man, that You are mind - ful of him ..." (Psalms 8:3, 4, New King James Version). Who are we in the grand scheme of things? Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, said, "The divine Mind supports the sublimity, magnitude, and infinitude of spiritual creation" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 511). Since the creator is Mind, Mind's creation must neces - sarily be idea – and what grand ideas we are! To Mind, we are each as radiant and gorgeous as the most awesome galaxy in all its swirling glory. The splendor of the cosmos points to the harmony of spiritual reality. As divine Spirit's cre - ation, we are at one with the harmony of God's universe. Knowing our oneness with the Creator frees us from the limits of material existence. In the 1920s, astronomer Edwin Hubble dis - covered that the universe continues to expand. So it makes sense that finite limitations – illness, decrepitude, and lack – don't fit in the infinitude of Mind, the ever expanding, infinite universe in which you and I are included. Limitless and eter - nal living is part of Mind's plan for His loved cre- ation. Mrs. Eddy said, "God expresses in man the infi - nite idea forever develop- ing itself, broadening and rising higher and higher from a boundless basis" (Science and Health, p. 258). Before Hadfield's departure for the space sta - tion, he said, "To be able to command the space station, yes, it's professional, and yes, I'll take it seriously, and yes, it's important for Canada, but for me, as just a Canadian kid, it makes me want to shout and laugh and do cartwheels." I share his exuberance when I think of the eternal, spiri - tual splendor of man and the universe. – Annette Dutenhofer From the first moonwalk to the space station A ChristiAn sCienCe perspeCtive A grammar issue I've just tuned in to – or into? verbal energy by Ruth Walker the ChristiAn sCienCe Monitor Weekly | June 9, 2014 47

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