Abracadabra! Shooting suspect transforms self into the jail!

I have one or two posts on Grammar Glitch Central that correct the use of INTO in connection with perpetrators turning themselves into police officers.  Today's suspect did something even more unusual.  He turned himself into the jail!  Consider this sentence from The Birmingham News:

(The man) turned himself into the jail, sheriff's officials said Sunday.

 As I have pointed out before, there is a difference in usage between INTO and IN TO. You can say that you walked INTO the drugstore or you fell INTO a ditch or you transformed yourself INTO a happy person.  In each case, you are creating a prepositional phrase that describes where or what (INTO the drugstore, INTO a ditch, INTO a happy person).

TURN IN, on the other hand, is a verb plus an adverb.  Used together, TURN IN means to give over to someone or something else, as in "The man turned himself IN TO the police." or "Alice WILL TURN IN her keys before she leaves the building."

I am certain that the man arrested in the shooting death at a Forestdale convenience store recently did NOT become the Jefferson County Jail! He simply went there to TURN HIMSELF IN.  This sentence would be much clearer and simpler with this wording:

 (The man) turned himself in at the jail, sheriff's officials said Sunday.

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3 Responses to “Abracadabra! Shooting suspect transforms self into the jail!”

  1. Great artical, had no problems printing this page either.

  2. ht says:

    "This sentence would be much clearer and simpler with this wording:"
    Should that be: "This sentence would be much more clear and more simple with the following wording:"

  3. admin says:

    You pose a good question, but no, I don’t think “much more clear and more simple” is a better word choice. My trusty American Heritage Dictionary indicates that CLEARER and SIMPLER are both acceptable comparative adjective forms, so I see no reason not to use them. Please add another comment if you would like to discuss this further. Thanks for writing.

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