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This context comes from the movie "Fight Club" (1999).

JACK: Tyler was a night person. While the rest of us were sleeping, he worked. He had one part-time job as a projectionist. A movie doesn't come all in one big reel, it's on a few. Someone has to be there to switch the projectors at the exact moment when one reel ends and another reel begins. If you look for, you see little dots come into the upper right corner of the screen.

I assume that "come" here means...

To move into view; appear: The moon came over the horizon.(American Heritage Dictionary)

...and if it does, the sentence could be transformed into "you see little dots appear into the upper right corner of the screen" but it doesn't sound right, "appear on the upper right corner" would be fine form me. Why is it "into" and not "on". Is it because they appear "inside" of the are of the screen? I could not find a definition for this preposition that would fit this context.

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    It's only casual speech - not worth wasting time analyzing it to that level of precision. He could just as easily have said appear in, appear at, appear on,... Assuming you've transcribed it accurately, you should easily be able to see that If you look for, you should... isn't syntacxtically valid anyway (look for what?). I don't really think there's enough here to justify a formal "answer". Please stick to asking about things for which you can find more than one example. Commented Mar 24 at 18:10
  • ...note that the speaker is probably being distracted by thinking of usages like come into view, if that helps you get your head around the "aberrant" choice of preposition Commented Mar 24 at 18:12
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    @FumbleFingers I would go so far as to say: in this and many similar questions, the casual speech conflates or elides common phrases, often to omit repeated words, like "little dots come into [view in] the upper...". But meanwhile, StaticBounce, even if we insist on a literal reading, "come into" doesn't always mean motion. The moon "comes into" the sky by sliding into view, but at twilight, stars "come into" the sky by appearing out of nowhere. Commented Mar 24 at 19:12
  • Dictionary: dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/come-into
    – Astralbee
    Commented Mar 24 at 19:43
  • @AndyBonner: On account of that If you look for, I quickly downloaded a copy of a subtitle file for the movie, which didn't include those 4 words at all. But as it happens, I have a copy of the movie itself on "backup storage", so I checked that. He very clearly enunciates If you look for it, you can see... Whatever - I don't attach any significance to the fact that he says come into [position] rather than the more common phrasing appear in/at [position]. It's just another case where this OP in particular is trying to attach "meaning" at too low a level. Commented Mar 24 at 19:50

1 Answer 1

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"Into" will generally be used when referring to content that is bounded.

It simply reinforces the fact that the subject (cursor, dots etc) is constrained to the field of view, (computer screen, movie screen etc).

This also applies to the moon example, wherein the bounding element is your own physical field of view, (what your eyes can see).

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  • I would add that "Come on the <object>" is never used to indicate a sudden appearance to this answer.
    – BadZen
    Commented Mar 24 at 20:55
  • @BadZen - yes and no, it could be used in an unbounded context, e.g. "come onto the horizon", "come on the radar" etc. Commented Mar 26 at 18:57

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