I've written this post:

"on to which" and "on which" difference in this context

and regarding this definition: "the board or bench on to which a person is strapped during the process of waterboarding."

but still quite don't understand the reason to choose to use "on to which" instead of just using "on which" as I learned "on to" denotes movement, But I belive makes no sense to denote movement if you just strap someone/something on a board/bech right? you just "strap on" in this case right?


1 Answer 1


I agree that on would be acceptable here, but onto (I would write it as one word) is more precise.

The "movement" implied by onto does not have to be literal movement, but can indicate an increased connection: strap onto, hold onto, plug into are examples where there may be no significant movement, but something ends up more closely connected.

"On which the person is strapped" could mean that the person is on the board and being strapped to something else - not a likely interpretation in this case, I admit; but that is why I describe it as less precise.

  • @olin Fine, I got it. in case of: "He put his hand in his pocket." and "He put his hand into his pocket" differences, the latter implies movement right? literal movement, right?
    – ilma pav
    May 4, 2022 at 18:24
  • Well, sort of. But put requires a location argument, and necessarily implies movement, so we mostly use simple prepositions (in, on, under, against etc) rather than into or onto. He put his hand into his pocket is less common, and generally implies purpose: we wouldn't say He put his hands into his pockets to mean he was just standing casually: that would suggest that he was going to pull something particular out of his pockets.
    – Colin Fine
    May 4, 2022 at 18:53

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