Unto vs Onto – What’s the difference?

Sometimes it becomes difficult to differentiate between a few words in the English language. One example can be the words onto and unto.

The confusing words Onto and Unto are usually used as prepositions. In English, there are types and parts of speech. Among which preposition is one of them. Prepositions function to link a word to another and tell the relationship between them in a sentence.

These two terms are often misspelled or incorrectly applied due to the lack of understanding and knowledge of their functions. Even though they look quite similar, they have different meanings and usage.

So what is the difference between “unto” and “onto”?

Unto vs Onto - What's the difference?

Unto vs Onto – Difference

The terms unto and onto are prepositions that interlink words in a sentence. While both of them are the same part of speech, they carry different meanings and functions. Onto functions as a preposition, and it also functions as an adjective, while Unto functions as a preposition and as a conjunction.

Misspelling them can change the entire meaning of the sentence and can account for errors.

Onto Usage in English

Onto is used with verbs to explain or express movement to a particular position or place. In simpler terms, onto means on top of, or a movement on. Onto in informal terms also means being aware of.

Onto, as an adjective, maps every element in one set to form the image of at least one element in another set. Let us look at some examples;

"My cat jumped onto the car seat."

Here, onto is used to describe a movement on something.

"She is onto your strategy."

Here, onto describes the state of being aware.

"The goats were loaded onto the cart."

Here, onto describes the movement to a particular position.

Unto Usage in English

Unto explains or expresses a motion or movement towards something or somebody. It also indicates or expresses reference or concern.

Unto as conjunction means until a particular event or time. It expresses movement up to a degree or time. Let us look at some examples;

"The fighters swore loyalty unto death."

Here, unto describes the state of movement to a particular degree or a period.

"She will do unto others what they did to her."

Here, unto indicates reference or concern.

"Our teacher rode unto the book store."

Here, unto describes a motion up to something and then stopping at it.

Using Unto in a Sentence

  1. I can love you unto death.
  2. Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
  3. They were together unto death.
  4. God, please let not hither company last unto the morning. I should not have time to sleep.
  5. Marriages were forever unto death.

Using Onto in a Sentence

  1. He jumped onto the horse.
  2. I stepped onto the terrace.
  3. I am keeping a pen onto the cup.
  4. A rat is jumping onto the cup.
  5. He will jump onto the Elephant.
  6. I jumped onto the horse.
  7. The cat jumped onto the roof to catch the pigeon.
  8. Within seconds, a stack of new dishes and a new rack of ribs flew onto the dining table.

Unto vs Onto – Conclusion

So we see both the words onto and unto have different meanings and functions. “Onto” expresses the movement to a higher place, while “Unto” expresses a motion or movement towards something or somebody. “Onto” can be formal, informal, and surjective, while “Unto” is archaic and poetic. “Onto” functions as a proposition, an adjective, and “Unto” functions as a preposition and conjunction.

Both words have definite functions. If you use them interchangeably, you are certain to make mistakes. It is necessary to understand the proper functions to use these words correctly.

Leave a Comment