Is “into” after “invade” really necessary?

By Maeve Maddox

My ears pricked up when I heard the local weatherman say that rain was expected to “invade into the River Valley.”

Why, I wondered, hadn’t he said that rain was expected to “invade the River Valley? The verb invade includes the sense of “into.”

invade: transitive verb. to enter in a hostile manner, or with armed force; to make an inroad or hostile incursion into.

The word derives from Latin invadere “go into, fall upon”

As a transitive verb, invade takes a direct object:

[There was a] French plan to invade Britain in the 18th century

Stink bugs expected to invade W. Va. homes this fall

Invade may be used intransitively:

If they [aliens] invaded I think that they would pacify every part of the planet …

What’ll we do when they invade?

The OED lists a construction that uses on, upon, or into after invade, but doesn’t illustrate the use more recently than 1814.

The construction to invade upon someone’s privacy has the familiar ring of custom, but the construction “invade into” sounds like careless writing.

Here are some examples of the “invade into” construction in which the sentences would be made stronger by dropping the “into.”

Brazilian pepper constantly trying to invade into Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

[Should] media invade into celebrities private life or not?

Why can’t Canada sometime try to invade into the USA?

You will learn basic techniques on how to invade into others’ dreams

When computers started to invade into the field of training,

This use of the unnecessary “into” seems to be especially common in medical writing:

individual malignant cells can invade into the stroma

Per cell, more mites invade into shorter and narrower cells

Tumors arising from adjacent organs can also invade into the bladder

the bacterial cells that adhere to and invade into cancer cells. …

cancer occurs when a tumor has the potential to invade into a different tissue

In each of these examples, the word intrude would seem to be a better choice, and one that works comfortably with “into.”

I suppose that a writer might see some stylistic reason for adding the “into” after invade, but in most cases, invade is all you need.

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5 Responses to “Is “into” after “invade” really necessary?”

  • Jean Gogolin

    And then there was the Boston newscaster who noted last Good Friday that it was the day Christians remember Jesus’s “crucification.” Yikes.

  • Bryan

    But doesn’t it sound like not needed anymore? like the sentence can live without the into in it. “individual malignant cells can invade the stroma”. Doesn’t it sound right already?

  • Maeve

    @Bryan
    You’re correct. I didn’t mean to imply that “invade” wouldn’t work just fine in the medical examples. I was just thinking that if the writer was determined to use an “into,” then another word would be preferable to “invade.”

    Nothing at all wrong with “invade the cell, invade the bladder,” etc.

  • Menekshee

    personally I find it unnecessary and incorrect.
    ‘Invade’ takes direct object without preposition.
    Even ‘invade someone’s privacy’ without preposition is correct.
    As correctly pointed above, invade already means ‘go into’ so the meaning of the preposition is included in the verb itself.

  • Garrison

    Perhaps they are using it to mean “invade the interior” of the cell as opposed to “invade the area” where the cell lives?

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