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"Stepped out onto the balcony" is more common than "stepped out to/into the balcony."

Why is "onto" used even though, usually, the floor of a balcony isn't higher than that of indoor rooms?

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    It's onto because the balcony is a surface - it's not a container, since 3 of 4 sides (and often the "roof / lid" as well) aren't present. We use onto for surfaces, into for containers, and plain to for non-specific "destination" contexts, so in principle you could step out to the balcony. But onto is a better fit (because it's more "accurate"), so that's what's preferred. Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 15:08

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Think of it this way:

The balcony prevents you from falling. Without it, you are walking off the building. Plus, it is an extension of the balcony, so you walk onto it is more commonly used, and walking on/to it is less commonly used.

Additionally, the balcony is sort of "separated" from the rest of the house, and hangs away from the house, so walking onto may seem more popularly used.

As what @FumbleFingers has said in the comments, it's onto because the balcony is a surface - it's not a container, since 3 of 4 sides (and often the "roof / lid" as well) aren't present. We use onto for surfaces, into for containers, and plain to for non-specific "destination" contexts, so in principle you could step out to the balcony. But onto is a better fit (because it's more "accurate"), so that's what's preferred.

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    This doesn't explain why we don't use into (for which, see @FumbleFingers' comment above). Commented Apr 19, 2022 at 16:55

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