The terms ‘transition to’ and ‘transition into’ often cause a lot of issues for those learning English. However, don’t worry. The differences between them are minor, and they actually have a lot of similarities. Let us explain.
Is It ‘Transition To’ Or ‘Transition Into’?
The verb ‘transition’ means that somebody or something is going through a change. While “transition to” and “transition into” can be used interchangeably, “transition to” is mostly used when the change happens instantly, while ‘transition into’ implies somebody is still going through the transition process.
In theory, both ‘transition to’ and ‘transition into’ mean exactly the same thing. Most people won’t have any issues with you using them interchangeably. However, they can each have their own definitions too.
When ‘transition to’ is used, it normally means that somebody or something is moving from one state to another very quickly. For example, ‘transition to a different country’ means that a person is in one country and now they are in another. Simple.
‘When ‘transition into’ is used, it often means somebody is going through the process of change but isn’t quite there. For example, if somebody says “transition into a better person”, it means somebody is going through that change to become better, but they are not the complete product.
The phrase ‘transition to’ means that somebody or something is changing from one thing to another. For example, you can ‘transition to’ another country, or you could ‘transition to’ a different job. The term is mostly used when the change can be completed instantly, although it doesn’t have to be.
‘Transition to’ is a term that can be used any time somebody is going through a change from one thing to another. The term can be used to describe physical changes, job changes, or even emotional changes. You should be fine as long as you use the term to describe the jump between two different states of affairs.
Here are a few ideas on how you can use ‘transition to’ in a sentence:
- He decided to transition to another job.
- Making the transition to another country was difficult, but she managed.
- The CEO decided to transition to a part-time role.
- Her sailing skills allowed her to transition to sailing bigger boats.
- Good grades will allow you to transition to college.
The phrase ‘transition into’ indicates that a person or object is going through a period of change. While the phrase can indicate an instant change, it normally implies a multi-stage change, i.e., the person is still in the process of transitioning and has yet to complete it.
The term can be used interchangeably with ‘transition to’, although some people would prefer that you didn’t use it like that. You can assume that the transition process is ongoing whenever you see the term used. There may be several stages that a person would have to go through to complete the transition.
Here are a few ways that you can use ‘transition into’ so you can get a better idea of how the phrase works:
- He would work on his sales skills so that he could transition into a different role.
- Working on his weight would allow him to transition into a healthier person.
- The business is currently going through a transition into a much more consumer-friendly company.
- She hoped that one day she could transition into the role of CEO.
- The changes the software developers made are helping the app to transition into something far better.
Is ‘Transition To’ or ‘Transition Into’ Used The Most?
According to Google Ngram Viewer, the phrase ‘transition to’ is used considerably more often than ‘transition into’. In fact, the phrase ‘transition into’ was barely mentioned before the 1950s.
Based on this, we can assume that most people believe that ‘transition to’ is the more correct version, and this is the one that you should be using the vast majority of the time. However, you won’t necessarily be wrong if you opt to use ‘transition into’ instead.
What Other Prepositions Can Be Used With ‘Transition’?
Transition can be used with a variety of different prepositions. The proposition that you use can completely change the meaning of the phrase. Some of the more common include the use of ‘in’ and ‘towards’. Let’s explain how they work.
The phrase ‘transition in’ often implies that the transition happens within an overall ‘thing’. It means that the change is happening within a clearly defined concept. For example, you could ‘transition in your workplace’ if you change roles, or you could talk about ‘scene transition in a movie’.
‘Transition in’ can be slightly more difficult to use than some of the other prepositions that go with ‘transition’, so let’s give you a few sentence examples:
- The move from business-focused to consumer-focused was a big transition in the company.
- The new government marked a new transition in the way that the country was run.
When the phrase ‘transition towards’ is used, it implies somebody or something is currently working towards a goal or destination. You may find that this term is used synonymously with ‘transition into’. Basically, it means that the final goal has yet to be reached, but it is in progress.
Here are some ways that you can use ‘transition towards’ in a sentence:
- The training helped the employee transition towards a higher-paid role with the company.
- Her exercise was allowing her to transition towards a healthier weight.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.