We checked ____ the hotel as soon as we arrived

We checked ____ the hotel as soon as we arrived.
I thought the answer was checked “in”. However the correct one is checked “into”.
I don’t know if there is a phrasal verb “check into”. I looked it up in the dictionary of phrasal verbs and couldn’t find it. And I think “check in” is commonly used or spoken when we talk about hotel or airport, isn’t it?

Yes. I’m not sure what a “phrasal verb” is. I could probably figure it out and answer you, but I don’t want to be too technical and be wrong answering in that way. I should also add that I have never written these phrases before, only spoken them, so we’re really getting into the details.

In the example you wrote above, I would fill in the blank with “in to.” The infinitive form of the verb is “to check in” or “to check out”

“We checked in TO the hotel” or “We checked in AT the hotel” means “We registered at the hotel.”

“We checked out of the hotel” or “We checked out AT the hotel” means “We finished our stay out the hotel” (paid, bill etc.)

Now, to “check into something” or “check out something” have different means than the above.

“We checked into the hotel” or “We checked out the hotel” means “We researched, or looked into, the hotel,” as it “We checked into that hotel and it turns out it is too expensive and we won’t stay there.”

If you arrived to the hotel the correct form is: “We checked in to the hotel”; that means register at the hotel. And “We checked into the hotel” means to look for information about it. Both forms are grammatically correct, but means something different.

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To answer your question: Yes, it is. But…

As you correctly indicated, the standard meaning for ‘check in’ is to ‘arrive and register at a hotel’ (or airport).

But usually you want to specify where you checked in: at the hotel.

This is where it gets a little tricky.

You will hear people say: We checked in at the hotel. We checked in to the hotel. or the combining form: We checked into the hotel.

In this case, ‘into’ is really nothing more than a combining form of ‘in’ and ‘to.’

We checked ____ the hotel as soon as we arrived. I assume this was a multiple choice exercise? If so, you didn’t let us know what all of your choices were.

But your sense was correct that the expression is ‘to check in’ (and not ‘to check into’). We checked in. But you really can’t correctly say: We checked in the hotel. To indicate where, the grammar dictates that you need to add at, to, or use the combining form: into.

But there’s more.

There is also a phrasal verb to ‘check into’ something, but it has a completely different meaning: to look into something; to investigate something. But what is that ‘something’? It is best described as a situation.

It is typically expressed as: We checked into it.

Here are a few examples taken from Twitter:

customer: I made a special trip to my local Whole Foods market today, just to buy your snacks. I was sure they would have them, because that’s what you advertise. I went up and down the snack aisle several times, just to make sure I wasn’t missing them, but they were nowhere to be found. You might want to check into this.

company reply: So we checked into it and both stores in your area have everything but our Thin Mints at the moment. We’ve only been at Whole Foods for a couple months, so not every employee knows where our products are located in the store yet. But we’re working on it!

I don’t do this often, so please forgive me, but my friend’s six year old daughter is in desperate need of a bone marrow donor. Perhaps you or someone you know can help?

reply: I checked into it, but you have to be 18-35 in order to donate. I have donated in the past and would have been glad to do it again, but alas, I am 47 now and too old. Good luck to her!

Hope this helps!

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Victor, greets!
You are not incorrect to say that “We checked into the hotel” could mean “We looked into the situation with the hotel,” but in almost all cases, when someone says (or writes) “We checked into the hotel,” they mean that they arrived and registered at the hotel. They’re just using the combining form of ‘in’ and ‘to,’ the same as saying “We checked in to the hotel.” In fact, I searched Twitter and couldn’t find a single example of someone writing “We checked into the hotel” where they didn’t mean that they arrived and registered at the hotel.

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LILingquist, I think it’s safe to say that “We checked into the hotel” meaning “We looked into the situation with the hotel” is the exception, not the rule. I think you provided a good example of that, but in almost all cases, when someone says (or writes) “We checked into the hotel,” they mean that they arrived and registered at the hotel. Whether that is formal or informal grammar, I cannot confidently say, but nonetheless, that is the grammar.


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It definitely helps a lot, thank you very much, brucenator.
By the way, the question is kind of a fill-in blank exercise, that is why I didn’t let you know what the choices were.
But they (the exercises) do give us a hint - complete the sentence with in, into, out or out of.

What I learned today is I like the answer “check in AT the hotel”.

Ah, I see. It’s kind of a combination of multiple choice and fill in the blank, since they instructed you to use one of the options provided. So for the purpose of the exercise, ‘into’ was the only option that worked. But you could also have answered ‘in to’ or ‘in at’ even though those weren’t given as options. Kind of a tricky exercise if you ask me.

Plus the difference between British English and American English.

If I’m not mistaken, I think a person in the UK (and maybe even some in the USA, not to mention Canada, Ireland, Australia or other countries where a majority of people speak English) might say, ‘We checked in to hotel,’ leaving out the.

Of course, as LILingquist has already pointed out, if the sentence had been ‘We checked ____ the hotel and departed for the airport,’ the option would have been out of. We checked out of the hotel.

Anyway, I hope this exercise was helpful in your learning process. That’s all that really matters.