inside/in/into

Discussion in 'English Only' started by navi, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. navi Senior Member

    armenian
    Which is correct:
    1-Watch inside the drain pipe and tell me what happens.
    2-Watch in the drain pipe and tell me what happens.
    3-Watch into the drain pipe and tell me what happens.

    The context is that you and I are both in the kitchen (for instance) and you are by the sink and I am working under it and can't look into the drain pipe and I ask you to look into the drain pipe and watch to see what happens and tell it to me.
    To me 1 is correct, 3 is wrong and 2 is doubtful.
     
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    To me, "watch" is the wrong word altogether. I think most native-speakers would say "look". If you use "look", any of your three constructions would be correct. Using "watch", only #1 is correct but even that doesn't sound right to me.
     
  3. vachecow Senior Member

    Pennsylvania
    USA English
    1 would sound better if you said,
    "Watch the inside of the drain pipe and tell me what happens."
     
  4. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Watch. If you were looking in the pipe and awaiting the arrival of a mouse, then you would be watching for a mouse.

    Look. If you were looking in the pipe searching for a mouse, then you would be looking for a mouse.

    Look. If you wanted to see what was inside a pipe, you would look in the pipe (and perhaps be surprised to see a mouse.)
     
  5. Orange Blossom Senior Member

    U.S.A. English
    Back to the issue of in/inside/into.

    I'm going to change the context from a pipe to a room.

    I looked in the room for my slippers. <-- I was already in the room and looked for my slippers there.

    I looked into the room from my slippers. <-- I was not in the room. I was outside the room and looking into it for my slippers. For something that small, I should have gone into the room to find them. Into is a compound preposition: in + to.

    I am in the room. The oak tree is outside. I can see the oak tree from inside the room. <-- Inside is used to contrast with the outside.

    Inside can be used when you want to emphasize the in-ness of something.

    Carol: "Mom, I can't find my slippers."
    Mother: "Look inside your room." <-- This translates to: Don't just stand out in the hall looking into the room for your slippers. Go into the room and look for them.

    Usage note: Many people do use the word 'in' when 'into' would be more precise.

    Orange Blossom
     

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