Example sentence:

At last, Mark spoke to Mary, setting the air particles surrounding them in/into motion again.

Should it be in or into and why?

"in motion again" 33K Google results.

"into motion again" has 9K.

But I'm sttill a little confused.

  • There's no particular "Why?" involved. Google NGrams has put into motion accounting for over a third of all instances over the past 50 years, but if you make the date range a century earlier, it was almost too rare to appear on the chart at all.Use whichever you like, but don't assume either is more "right" or "wrong" than the other. May 15, 2018 at 16:27
  • Considering how to answer this, a better example might be helpful. I can't get a feeling for the motion, since air particles are always moving the same in a literal sense. In the more likely interpretation, "At last, Mark spoke to Mary, setting the feelings between them in/into motion again.", I would use into since a change of state clearly has occurred.
    – user3169
    May 15, 2018 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


It sounds more natural to me an American English speaker to say into. I know that it has less results but that's how it feels to me given the options. I would say both are valid and would convey what you wish to convey.

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