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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. – FumbleFingers May 15 '18 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 '18 at 20:28
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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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