ONTO or ON TO? Use your head about the meaning.

Here is a sentence I came across in an Associated Press release about FBI Director James Comey's comments on race relations and law enforcement:

"Answering questions after a speech at Georgetown University, he noted that there was 'a tendency to move onto other things as busy people.'"

Whoops #1: There is a difference in meaning between ONTO and ON TO. ONTO involves motion to the top of something, as in jumping ONTO the top of a picnic table or gluing glitter ONTO a greeting card. ON TO uses ON to suggest going forward, as in moving ON or getting ON and TO to indicate which direction the subject is heading. 

Whoops #2: AS BUSY PEOPLE is in the wrong location for the meaning.

This sentence should read as follows:

Answering questions after a speech at Georgetown University, he noted that there was, among busy people, "a tendency to move on to other things."

 


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