I did a little Google search and it seems "rename itself to" is the correct answer, but I am wondering if both are ok.

Here's an example sentence:

The Republic of Congo renamed itself into The People's Democratic Republic of Congo.

I heard "into" is only used when there's a movement, so I am inclined to think this is wrong.

  • While using a preposition may be grammatical, it's redundant and sounds unnatural. I would think of it as a poor use of English. It's best to just drop it altogether. – Jason Bassford Apr 30 '19 at 1:57

I think the 'to" form is more common when dealing with an institution or company, rather than a person:

  • The International Business Machines corp was renamed to "IBM".

  • The stadium was renamed from "The Homer Osbourn Memorial Stadium" to 'The Johns Telephone Company Arena".

  • "Michigan Agricultural College" (MAC) was renamed to "Michigan State University" (MSU).

"Into" would be used with verbs "changed" or "converted" or "made" or "turned" all of which imply that more than a name was changed, although they might be used for a simple change of name in some cases.

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  • Why does Katy think "to" is ungrammatical? – blackbird Apr 29 '19 at 23:54
  • Do you need quotes (") between IBM? – blackbird Apr 29 '19 at 23:56
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    @blackbird The quotes here are a form of the use-mention distinction. They show that the speaker is referring to the name "IBM" not to the thing (in this case the company) designated by that name. Katy did not say that the 'to" form was wrong, only that she would expect to see the form with neither "to" nor "into ". And when the subject is a person, I would agree. – David Siegel Apr 30 '19 at 0:00
  • So, in your opinion, it's ok to use "to" or "into" when it involved non-person, contrarily to her? – blackbird Apr 30 '19 at 0:20
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    @Blackbird I would think it OK to use "renamed to", but not "renamed into". I would use "changed into" , or any of the other verbs I listed with ;"into". Perhaps others would disagree. – David Siegel Apr 30 '19 at 0:25

I would expect it without either of them.

The Republic of Congo renamed itself The People's Democratic Republic of Congo.

You don't "name to" or "name into" someone, and the same holds true for renaming, whether you're renaming yourself or others.

  • They named their son Harry Potter. Then they realized that would make life difficult for him, so they renamed him Henry.

  • My parents named me Harry Potter. People thought I was joking when I introduced myself, so I renamed myself Henry.

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