cut a potato …. small bits

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Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
Hello, :)


Which preposition would you use in the following phrase, please ?
cut a potato …. small bits

I would use into?
Would in work here, too?


Tom
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi Thomas,
    I would use into. Many people use in. It's easily understood either way. There is a gradual shift going on in colloquial English by which 'in' is becoming a common substitute for 'into'.

    Example: Go in [into] the house.
     

    Idek

    New Member
    English, UK
    I would definitely use 'into' - I wonder whether 'in' is slightly more American?! - it is understood, but to my ear doesn't sound quite right.

    by the way I would also say 'pieces', not bits!
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hi Cuchuflete,

    Thanks a lot for help. :)

    A follow-up question: is in so much standardized that it would flow smoothly in an essay (in the expression in question), for instance?
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    I would definitely use 'into' - I wonder whether 'in' is slightly more American?! - it is understood, but to my ear doesn't sound quite right.

    by the way I would also say 'pieces', not bits!
    Thank you too,:thumbsup: could please you explain me why pieces and not bits?

    Tom
     

    Gordonedi

    Senior Member
    UK (Scotland) English
    I would use "into" with the active verb "cut".

    Afterwards, the potato would be on the table in small pieces.

    "Pieces" is the word generally used when referring to food in recipes. "Bits" has a more negative connotation : the baby threw his dinner around, and there were bits of food all over the floor.

    :)
     

    Idek

    New Member
    English, UK
    might depend on context, and I'm making this up as I go along... but I am thinking about English for cookery and recipes and stuff, and I would imagine an instruction would say 'cut a potato into small pieces about 1cm cubed' or something - I can't see it saying 'bits'. Bits is more colloquial, maybe?

    But if we're talking recipes they wouldn't really say that at all, they'd say 'dice a potato' or 'chip a potato' or 'slice a potato' - they'd explain what sort of pieces (ha! Not bits!).

    I think 'into' much better for essay!
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    To me "bits" are very tiny, the size of confetti, for example, while "pieces" are larger. The few recipes I've read usually give a measurement for the size of the pieces - "1/4-inch cubes", or some such thing.
     

    gwrthgymdeithasol

    Senior Member
    English, Wales
    There is a gradual shift going on in colloquial English by which 'in' is becoming a common substitute for 'into'.
    Really? Is there any evidence for this? I'd be surprised if 'in' hadn't been used in this way for centuries (after all, it is in other Germanic languages).
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Really? Is there any evidence for this? I'd be surprised if 'in' hadn't been used in this way for centuries (after all, it is in other Germanic languages).
    Hi Gwrth,
    The evidence is that gathered by my ears over the past many decades. I'm referring to spoken, colloquial Amer. English.
    I too would be surprised if 'in' hadn't been used this way long ago, but would also be surprised if it were not considered incorrect in the past.

    In the example Thomas gave, I much prefer the sound and sense of 'into', but wouldn't be at all surprised if a majority of AE speakers were to say 'in', or find 'into' formal and stuffy sounding. That's the evolution I'm hearing.

    For what little it may be worth,

    Results 1 - 10 of about 634,000 for "cut into pieces"

    Results 1 - 10 of about 207,000 for "cut in pieces"
    I don't have any time series data to show the growth of in for into.
     
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