The following is from The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon:

When snow begins to melt a little, or when only a small amount has fallen, it enters into all the cracks between the bricks, so that the roof is black in some paces, pure white in others -- most attractive.

It used the phrase "enters into all the cracks," which feels better than "enters all the cracks," but I am not sure when one should use enter into and when enter in a context like this.


I'm not sure why you say "enters into" feels better than "enters" in this case. I'm a native speaker and I find "enters" more natural, because "enter" already means "go into". But I find "enter into" fine too, just that I would favour using simply "enter". Grammatically, if you use "enter into" it is effectively using the less common meaning of "enter" as the intransitive "go in", and cannot be used for entering a state. Compare:

He entered the room. (He went into the room.)

He entered on the left. (He went in on the left.)

He entered an unconscious state.

(WRONG) He entered into an unconscious state.

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  • Thanks for the response. When I say "better," I mean I read either version a few times, and feel the original version sound better. Completely subjective, and can be wrong, both because I am not a native speaker and because if I read something a few too many times, my perception starts to change. Where can I find the reference that "enter into" cannot be used for entering a state? (I didn't know that.) – Tom Bennett Aug 28 '19 at 10:45
  • @TomBennett: I don't have a reference; my mind just does not like it. I think this is at the fuzzy boundary of natural language where native speakers go more by feel (often euphony) than by grammar, and it is not unlikely that other native speakers may well disagree with me. However, I don't think any native speaker would disagree that both "enters" and "enters into" are fine for the usage you asked about. – user21820 Aug 28 '19 at 11:11
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    They are both fine. (And I personally feel the sentence in the question sounds a bit better without into). However, I disagree with the last example in your answer. Entering into an unconscious state is normal phrasing. I've heard it and used it many times. In fact, that sentence sounds more natural to me with into than without it. – Jason Bassford Aug 28 '19 at 23:11
  • @JasonBassford: Thanks for your input. You're a native speaker, I presume? I guess it could be a dialectical variation, and that's reasonable. – user21820 Aug 29 '19 at 6:39

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