I have a problem. At English classes there was a sentence:

Mike is wasting most of his money on/into clothes.

Teacher said that the right variant is "into". I tried to find some examples with "to waste into", but I found nothing.

Is it possible to say like that? If yes, can you give me some examples using "into"?

How can I prove that "on" is right?

  • 3
    What medica says is correct. For money it's invest in, pour into, waste on, give to. And, as Lawrence suggests, there are not many good "rules" that will tell you which to use when -- mostly you just learn what's idiomatic as you learn the language.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 12, 2016 at 1:00
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    @Lawrence - Dispel that silly notion that on somehow implies "sits atop." Sure, on can mean "sits atop", but that's just one of several possible meanings for that two-letter word. If I'm on the telephone, on the radio, on a roll, on a train, on a diet, on drugs, or on fire, I'm mostly like not "sitting atop" any of those things.
    – J.R.
    Apr 12, 2016 at 1:08
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    @J.R. Of course, hence the phrase in parentheses. The aspect of the OP's question I'd like to explore isn't that particular meaning of on. It's whether there is some physical analogue at all that can serve to explain to the OP's teacher why, in this context, on is appropriate and into isn't. To put it another way, I'd like to say something more helpful here to the OP than that's how it's always been.
    – Lawrence
    Apr 12, 2016 at 1:21
  • 1
    @Lawrence - Okay, gotcha. I see what you were getting at now. Good question.
    – J.R.
    Apr 12, 2016 at 1:23
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    to waste money on clothes/women/cars - See OALD waste, no. 1 oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/…
    – rogermue
    Apr 12, 2016 at 5:21

2 Answers 2


The normal construction is to waste money on clothes or cars or women as you can see in OALD, waste no. 1:

  • to waste something on something:

  • Why waste money on clothes you don't need?

  • We got straight down to business without wasting time on small talk.


But I can imagine that in some variants of English "into" might be possible.


Either 'on' or 'into' is grammatically okay. However, the situation is not the same. Mike is wasting most of his money on clothes. The speaker of this sentence emphasizes that Mike wastes money "on" clothes other than books or something else.

Mike is wasting most of his money into clothes. The speaker emphasizes that he wastes money "on" clothes "repeatedly".

The basic meaning of 'on' describes being contacted or fixed with while that of 'into' says being going further in some direction.

  • 3
    I can think of no instance where I've heard "wastes money into" ("puts money into", yes, but not "wastes money into"). The Ngram can't find any instances either. As a side note, you can "put money on" something, too – but that means something different.
    – J.R.
    Apr 12, 2016 at 9:22
  • 1
    Sorry, there is enough wrong with this answer that I downvoted it. The second paragraph of the answer is just plain wrong.
    – ab2
    Apr 12, 2016 at 19:40
  • Is that a theory or yours? I can't imagine that you have a source to back up your theory.
    – rogermue
    Apr 13, 2016 at 15:50

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