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Is 'analyze A into B' grammatically right?

For example, if I say

"I am trying to analyze that movie into two different parts"

Is the sentence grammatically right?

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2 Answers 2

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I wouldn't use it; perhaps the term "break down (into)" or "interpret (as)" is better for when you're talking about splitting something.

I tried to analyse the movie by breaking it into two parts.

I tried to analyse the movie by interpreting it as two parts.

Cheers

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  • I disagree with "interpret," but I think "break down" or just "split" work fine.
    – Ringo
    Aug 21, 2017 at 7:18
  • Interpet isn't a synonem but can be used if needed. (Interpret the film as two parts). I chose it because it conveys the meaning of analyze with actually mentioning the extra verb for the splitting. Aug 21, 2017 at 7:20
  • "Interpret as" seems good. I thought you meant "interpret into"
    – Ringo
    Aug 21, 2017 at 7:21
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Main Answer

Your example sentence would sound incorrect to most English speakers.

The problem is that the sentence is trying to say two things about what you are doing, but only using one verb.

I will explain by turning your sentence into a conversation with two parts:

Person: "What are you trying to do?"

You: "I am trying to analyze the movie."

(The verb for this part is "analyze".)

Person: "How are you trying to analyze the movie?"

You: "I am splitting the movie into two parts."

(The verb for this part is "split … into".)

The two parts can be combined back into one sentence with "by" as a joining word:

"I am trying to analyse the movie by splitting it into two parts."


Comments and Extra Detail

Did you notice that I used a sentence just like your sentence in my answer?

It was this one:

"I will explain by turning your sentence into a conversation with two parts."

My two verbs were "explain" and "turn … into".


Your sentence was very close to natural-sounding English.

  • You were correct that "analyze" was a good verb to choose for talking about what you are doing to the movie.
  • You were correct that "into" was a good choice for the second part of the phrasal verb for talking about how you were trying to analyse the movie.

English has lots of phrasal verbs ending with "into" that could have been used:

  • split … into

"Split the movie into two parts."

  • break … into

"Break the movie into two parts."

  • break … down into

"Break the movie down into two parts."

  • divide … into

"Divide the movie into two parts."


"Analyze … into" would probably never sound right as a phrasal verb in English no matter what the sentence was.

"Into" suggests that something is being changed in some way.

"Analyze" doesn't suggest that something is changing as a word on its own. This is because it doesn't include any information about how you are doing the analysis. It is only when that extra detail is included that we can tell if something is being changed or not.

For example: "I analyzed this rock yesterday." - we have no idea if the rock was changed or not.

"I analyzed this rock yesterday by looking at it with a microscope and then weighing it." - the rock was not changed.

"I analyzed this rock yesterday by splitting it into 3 pieces with a hammer and then measuring the places where it cracked." - the rock was changed (into 3 rocks).

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