Split Into or Split In: Correct Preposition (With Examples)

Using prepositions can be confusing. Some, such as “into” and “in”, are so similar that it can be hard to tell  the difference between the two. This article explores which preposition is used correctly in these two  phrases: “split into” and “split in”.

Is It “Split Into” or “Split In”?

The phrases “split into” and “split in” both refer to dividing something or a group of people into  smaller sections. These are interchangeable. However, “split into” is the more popular phrase, while  “split in” is more commonly used when it is divided into fractions, such as “split in half”.

split into or split in

When you want to describe the division of something or a group of people into smaller sections, you can use  either of these two phrases: “split into” or “split in”.

While these two phrases use different prepositions, they are used interchangeably. Take these two sentences,  for example:

  • The board members split into two groups to get the job done faster.
  • The board members split in two groups to get the job done faster.

Both sentences mean the same thing: that the board members are divided into two groups. Both are also  grammatically correct, although you are likely to see the first sentence more than the second.

The phrase “split in” is more commonly used when the smaller section the thing or the group is divided into  is described using a fraction. For example, see these two sentences:

  • The cookie was split into half so both siblings could have a taste.
  • The cookie was split in half so both siblings could have a taste.

While both sentences are grammatically correct, you are more likely to see the second sentence than the first.

Split Into

“Split Into” is a phrase used to describe the division of something into two or more parts. 

The word “split” means “to divide into two parts or more”. “Into”, as used in the phrase “split into”, is a  preposition that refers to “when a person or thing is changing from one condition to another”.

This phrase is used to describe the division of something into two or more parts.

Here are examples of how to use “split into” in a sentence:

  1. The class should split into two groups for today’s activity.
  2. Our family split into three groups for the road trip because we disagreed on where to go next.
  3. As you can see, the data is split into columns so it could be easily read.
  4. I think that pie should be split into thirds first, to make sure all of us get a piece of the same size.
  5. When Dawn and Lane broke up, our friend group split into four different factions.
  6. This research paper is split into two parts, the quantitative portion and the qualitative portion.
  7. They pulled at the dress until it split into two.

Split In

The phrase “split in” is used to describe how something is divided. It is more commonly used when  the division is described using a fraction. 

The word “split” refers to a division into two or more parts. Meanwhile, the preposition “in” has many  definitions. It could mean “inside of a thing” or “into something”. It could also be used to show how things  are arranged or divided. In the phrase “split in”, the latter definition is the most commonly used.

While “split in” can be interchanged with the phrase “split into”, it is more commonly used when the  division is described using a fraction (e.g. “in half”, “in thirds”).

Here are examples of how to use “split in” in a sentence:

  1. We can’t afford to buy another, so that cookie should be split in half.
  2. The fortune cookie should be split in two so you can read your fortune inside.
  3. There were six of us and only two pancakes, so each pancake had to be split in thirds.
  4. The two groups playing tug of war pulled so hard that the rope split in two.
  5. They pulled at the belt as they were arguing until it finally snapped and split in half.

Which Is Used The Most?

“Split into” is more popular than “split in”, according to data from Google Ngram Viewer. 

Google Ngram Viewer is used to chart how often certain phrases are used in a wide range of books.  According to data from books published between 1950-2019, the phrase “split into” is used more often than  the phrase “split in”.

split into or split in english usage

Interestingly, the use of both phrases has greatly increased throughout the years. However, “split into” has  been the more popular phrase since 1950.

Final Thoughts

In describing the division of something or a group of people into two or more parts, both “split in” or  “split into” are acceptable. While these are interchangeable, “split into” is the more popularly used  phrase. “Split in” is more often used when the division is described using a fraction.

You may also like:
Split in Half vs. Split in Two – Difference Explained
Divide Into or Divide In: Correct Preposition (+Examples)
Cut Into Halves vs. Cut In Half – What’s the Difference?