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‘Unto’ or ‘Onto’: Which is Correct?

Shaun Connell
March 26, 2024

Are you unsure whether to use 'unto' or 'onto?' I can help!

Here is a quick overview in case you are in a hurry: 

  • 'Unto' is a preposition similar to, to, used as a function word to show concern or reference. 
  • 'Onto' is a preposition that means to a position on or in a state of awareness. 

The answer above might help you quickly choose the correct term to use. However, without a thorough understanding of the meanings and correct usages of each word, you will likely find yourself looking this question up again in the future.

Sticking around for the entire lesson will likely help you remember how to use each word grammatically and save you time in the future. So, I hope you will keep reading.

Which is Correct, 'Unto' or 'Onto?'

'Unto' and 'onto' are both correctly spelled English prepositions. Which is correct depends on the context and sentence construction you are using.

  • 'Unto' is used like to or as a function word to show concern. So, you use 'unto' when you are saying that something was forwarded or given to someone or something.
  • 'Onto,' on the other hand, means to a position atop or on another or in a state of awareness. So, you use 'onto' to indicate that an object's position is on the surface of another item, person, or location.

Other similar prepositions include:

  • Into
  • To
  • For
  • From
  • Over
  • Past
  • Of
  • On
  • Up
  • Within
  • By
  • Before
  • Behind
  • Across
  • Above
  • Out
  • Outside
  • Inside
  • In
  • Until

Definition of 'Unto': What Does 'Unto' Mean?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary categorizes 'unto' as a preposition defined as:

  • To
  • A function word you use to show concern or reference

Definition of 'Onto': What Does 'Onto' Mean?

The same dictionary lists 'onto' as a preposition that means:

  • To an on-position
  • Into or in a state of awareness about something
  • A function word used to show a set of elements that contain the images of at least one other element in another set

'Onto' is also an adjective that means:

  • Mapping elements so that each element in the set contains at least one image in a secondary set of elements

 Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Unto' or 'Onto'

When it comes to pronunciation, you have to be especially careful when you are saying words like these because their pronunciations are similar. And incorrectly saying these terms can confuse your audience.

So, here is a pronunciation guide you can reference.

  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'unto':


  • Use this phonetic spelling to pronounce 'onto':


Writing Tips: When and How to Use 'Unto' vs. 'Onto'

Even after learning the definitions of terms like these, many writers are still unsure of which to use. As a professional freelance writer, understanding how to use these two prepositions grammatically is vital.

So, here are some tips to help you determine when and how to use each preposition.

  • Use 'onto' when you are saying that something is being placed on another.

For example, a teacher might say:

Any student who fails to place their completed project onto my desk before the bell rings will receive a zero. 

  • Use 'unto' like to. 

As an example, I might say something like:

The information you provide unto the security guard will be used to create a temporary security badge that will give you access to the 21st and 31st floors of our building.  

  • Use 'onto' to indicate a state of awareness.

So, you can say:

I am onto what is going on with you two behind my back. 

  • Use 'unto' to say that something is forwarded or given to someone.

For example, I could say:

Despite being given unto the correct party, the document was never filed with the county clerk, which means the documents are invalid and have to be resigned. 

Sample Sentences: Using 'Unto' or 'Onto'

Next, read these sample sentences using 'unto' and 'onto.' They will help you remember the correct ways to use each.


  • If you are going to give that away, you can bestow it unto me.
  • After the note was given unto my beloved, I watched his face to see his reaction.
  • Do you think he will bestow his sizable fortune unto me, or do you think he is leaving it all to charity?
  • If it had been given unto me, I would have cherished it for many years.
  • The entire estate passed unto me after my beloved grandmother passed away the day after she turned ninety.


  • Put it onto the counter and let it dry before you touch it again. Otherwise, you will ruin your painting.
  • I am onto what you are up to. So, you might as well be honest about who you are associated with and your true intentions.
  • Put it onto the cabinet to check the placement and fit before you glue it down.
  • He moved onto the leaderboard during the last lap and almost moved into 2nd place, but his competitor prevented him from passing.
  • I will never forget the night we climbed onto the roof to look at the stars.


  • After the information was passed unto him, I put a copy of the report onto my boss's desk.

Wrapping Up: Is 'Unto' or 'Onto' Correct?

When you have covered as much information as we have, it is a good idea to recap what you learned. So, here is a review of whether 'unto' or 'onto' is correct: 

  • 'Unto' is a lesser-used preposition similar to, to. 
  • 'Onto' is a preposition that indicates a position on something else or a state of awareness.

after reading this entire post, you should remember how to use these terms grammatically. However, you can always return to this lesson for a quick recap if you are unsure.

You can also find posts here to help you improve your writing skills, marketing yourself to high-paying customers, create an amazing writer's portfolio, and more.

So, read a few more before you go, and come back often to stay current on the latest industry changes and best practices.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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