into has a lot of meanings. I normally use it when I mean to go inside:

into: to the inside or middle of a place, container, area, etc.

Let's go into the garden. Cambridge Dictionary

I saw the following example on one of Oxford conversation videos

I don't fancy of driving back tonight. Why don't we stay near here then we can go straight into work tomorrow.

We don't go inside the work, we go to the work.

So, Is it common to use into with work?

Google books - Ngram:

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Yes, it's fine. I couldn't tell you when you might use over the other, since it's mostly a matter of context and preference.

Using "into" slightly emphasizes the image of being forced to go and do something you'd rather not do, like someone is forcing you into a small, uncomfortable room:

I don't want to go into work today, I just know that my boss is going to yell at me for yesterday's mistake.

Although, perhaps that just my personal experience. I could use "to" in the same sentence without changing the meaning:

I don't want to go to work -- I know my boss is going to throw a fit for my mistake yesterday. Can't I just call in sick?

As others have pointed out, the use of "into" for this is relatively recent (since 1990). Many feel it should be two words, "go in to work" since "into" should refer to the action of going inside something. But evolving English means that "into" is common.

  • Is this a BrE vs AmE issue? Because it's really making my inner proofreader squirm. – Stew C Feb 24 '17 at 20:12
  • I don't think so: books.google.com/ngrams/… The graphs are similar for both BrE and AmE – Andrew Feb 24 '17 at 20:21

As Andrew says, it's context sensitive and preferences vary. I'll add some nuances to his answer.

  • One situation where people say "go into work" is when they think of their work as a job at a location (i.e., in a building). A facet of their life is to go into that location, perform the tasks comprising their employment or tasks as assigned, and return home. "Go into work" means "go into the place of work"; they are sort of synonymous.
  • Another situation is where the person is going to put in an appearance at their place of work, but don't really expect to get much work accomplished. For example, they feel sick but will show up for work anyway, or the office is being remodeled, precluding getting anything accomplished. "Going into work" in this case means showing up at the place of work without necessarily having expectations of doing much work.
  • "Going to work" isn't tied to a specific location (even when it is always performed there). A person who thinks of his job in terms of challenges and accomplishing objectives, and the work location has little relevance to that, might be more likely to say "going to work" when going into the office.
  • "Go to work" can mean simply "get started on a task, as in, "We have our project, let's go to work."

In some circles "go into work" was actually incorrect until recently. Note that there is no difference to the ear of a native speaker when spoken, only when put in writing. You will also hear "go in" or "go to work" a lot. "Going into" usually means passing from the outside to the inside of something, and "work" means the general concept of work. To move to the inside of the general concept of work, well, I have never heard it used that way, and it doesn't sound natural to me at all. You will hear "get into my/the work" which means to immerse yourself in your work, but it would still be "get in to work(noun: the general concept or location of work)" if you're talking about going to where you work(verb: to work). Also, informally, to be "into" something means you like it and do it a lot, such as "He is really into his work".

  • I'm afraid this is likely your personal idea of what is "correct" English, rather than what English speakers actually say. While Ngram certainly isn't the definitive source, it is a good reference: books.google.com/ngrams/… Notice both versions appear in equal numbers, both in BrE and AmE. – Andrew Feb 24 '17 at 20:20
  • It's your perfect right to disagree, but there are at least several hundred sources linked from the Ngram chart, for example this which took all of 30 seconds to find, "I won't be able to go into work again today. Yeah, I know I've used all my sick days." You might think this "wrong" English and I can't argue, but nevertheless this is what people say. – Andrew Feb 24 '17 at 20:31
  • I dove into (hah!) that tool, and it turns out the results depend on era and body of works. So I am not the only one holding my opinion, although thank you for getting me into (hah!) Ngrams. Interpreting statistics can be tricky. It looks like the "into" form has been dominating though since 2000. – Stew C Feb 24 '17 at 20:52
  • I pointed out how the difference is un-hearable to native speakers (when spoken), so there's nothing to argue about there. – Stew C Feb 24 '17 at 20:53
  • Easy... I like your Ngrams data. It's better to suggest I edit my answer rather than rail at me for the way I supposedly think, lol. Also, I found that in some of the available Ngrams corpus' my answer is upheld for the time period before and during my lifetime, except for recently where your answer dominates. – Stew C Feb 24 '17 at 21:03

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