Onto vs On to – What’s the difference?

There is a difference between the word “Onto” and the words “On to“. People are often confused between these two. They assume both as same in the meaning and usage. But it is not true. In this post, we are going to wash out this confusion and learn how they are used in sentences. Let us see what is the difference between Onto and On to in simple language.

Onto vs On to – Difference

The word “Onto” is a double preposition. It is made up by combining two simple prepositions – on and to and is written as one new word. It is used with verbs to express movement from one place to another whereas “On to” are two separate words/prepositions and each one of them shows its own identity in a different perspective in a sentence. In such a case “on” is used as a part of a “Verb” and “to” is used as a preposition. “Onto” as a single word and “on to” as two different words can not be substituted in a sentence. If it is done, it will either cause confusion or make the sentence meaningless. For example:

Onto Examples

  • All the toys were put onto the shelf.
  • A lizard climbed onto the wall.
  • The monkey jumped onto the terrace.
  • The tiger climbed onto the highest branch of the tree.
  • The lion dragged the animal onto a lonely hill.

In the above examples, the verbs show the movement of “toys, lizard, and monkey, etc.from one place to another.

On to Examples

  • The teacher could not log on to the computer during a virtual meeting.
  • The tourists moved on to the circuit house after the sunset.
  • Harry held on to a wooden plank after the shipwreck.

In the above examples, the words “on to” are not used as one word. Both “on” and “to” are used as two separate words in this case. The word “on” is a part of the phrasal verbs – “log on, moved on, held on” and the word “to” is used as a preposition.

Onto meaning

The words “Onto” and “on to” are entirely different in meaning and can not be substituted in a sentence. “Onto” as one word means “on top of”. For example:

Example 1: The little kids get onto the school van every day at 7:00 am from Red Square.
Example 2: Climbing onto the next wall is not safe for you.
Example 3: Krish stepped onto the stairs.
Example 4: The passengers jumped onto the platform from the train.
Example 5: The customer emptied the bag onto the floor.

The word “Onto” is also used in the sense of “fully aware of” in a sentence. For example:

The Director is onto your new project. 

On to Meaning

The words “On to” are two different words and are used in two different perspectives. The word “on” is always a part of the main verb in a sentence and thus forms a phrasal verb. It always comes after the main verb. The word “to” acts as a simple preposition. Hence they have no immediate connectivity with each other. For example:

Example 1: The captain held on to the wheel in the stormy weather.

Using Onto in a Sentence

  1. Can you put the book onto the table?
  2. I threw my smartphone onto my couch.
  3. I am onto this plan.
  4. I am onto your nature.
  5. I am onto your behaviour.
  6. I climbed onto the bed.
  7. The cat jumped onto the couch.
  8. I stepped onto the stage.
  9. I put a fish onto the plate.
  10. I kicked the ball onto the roof.

Using On to in a Sentence

  1. After visiting the zoo, we moved on to the swimming pool.
  2. Be sure to hang on to the hangers.
  3. He held on to the seat while revolving.
  4. Timothy log on to the laptop.

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