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I knew that we use the verb "divide" with "into" preposition when we want to say to be divided into parts:

He divided a pear into two parts.

But, why in here we can also say (as I see here in Oxford):

He divided a pear in two.

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As it says here, except for such phrases as divide in half and divide in two, the preposition into is used because divide emphasizes separating, breaking up or cutting up a whole into sections or parts, changing the state or form of something. When half and two are used as adjectives, the correct phrasing is divide into.

  • The math teacher divided the apple in two.
  • The math teacher divided the apple into two parts.
  • Mother divided the pile of toys in half.
  • The team’s activities were divided into half days.
  • Shall we divide the project into six or seven small tasks?
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    According to most definitions, divide into would not be considered a phrasal verb because we can comprehend the meaning of the two words separately. We can understand divide into just as we can understand jump into or divide over as in something like two things will divide over a period of time. In contrast, we cannot understand the phrasal verb wake up by combining the separate meanings of the verb and the particle. In addition, something like divide in parts is perfectly grammatical. Jan 2, 2017 at 10:30

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