Is this idiomatic to say,
There was a building a few miles into the town.
Somehow, this preposition "into" makes me uneasy. I think it sounds a little strange, but I'm no native. Is it grammatical and idiomatic to write/say this sentence?
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It's not incorrect, but it's not a common expression.
It would mean that the building is not near the edge of the town, but quite far inside the town limits. It would only make sense if the town itself is more than a few miles across, in which case we'd probably call it a city rather than a town.
One possible context where such an expression could be used would be
I was amazed how big L.A. is. I had to go a few miles into the city to get to my hotel.
This is a non-idiomatic use of into as defined in Merriam-Webster's first entry:
1 —used as a function word to indicate entry, introduction, insertion, superposition, or inclusion
In your example, the definite article is not required, and it will usually be omitted:
There was a building a few miles into
The question for me is the incompatibility of the idea of location-at and into.
We can walk a few yards into the jungle.
We can drive a few miles into the city.
You may have to travel a hundred miles into the desert to find the oasis.
But can we say "The oasis is located a hundred miles into the desert"?
I have no problem with "The oasis is encountered a hundred miles into the desert".
Is "a hundred miles into" understood to be a place or a distance-traveled?