Here's the other recent thread:related discussion: the luggage that goes onto the plane ...
I too think CM2DD's description in #9 is less misleading than #11. 'Onto' and 'into' are in many contexts at least considerably less idiomatic than 'in' and 'on.'
This is a very tricky thing to try to explain, so it doesn't surprise me that even advanced ESL instruction may not cover it well. (I wonder what that person whose name I forget and whose book I don't have with me has to say about it. Michael, Martin, Greenberg, something? Someone please read my fuzzy mind ...)
But since dirk asks, no, I probably wouldn't use 'into' or 'onto' in any of his examples in #8. They're not wrong in the sense of unthinkable, but they definitely stand out as not typical. CM2DD is probably right that with an ordinary verb like 'put,' an ordinary object, and an expected place, we would normally just use 'in' and 'on,' at least in normal conversation as opposed to unusually formal diction.>>Put your clothes into the wardrobe!
To me it's really more idiomatic to save 'into' for things where the mental image of the final location is more emphatically 'inside,' like closing something up safely or tightly inside something else that's smaller, cozier, deeper. Better examples:Put the test tubes into the centrifuge.
He reached down into his pocket.
She fitted the last mamushka doll into the nest.>>We put the cups onto the table.
There it's really more idiomatic to save 'onto' for things that require more lifting and/or upward movement.Can you lift the patient onto the operating table?
I can't get this heavy box from the floor (up) onto the bed.
The cat jumped onto the desk.>>She looked into the cabinet.
That, too. would sound more idiomatic with a different word expressing more the idea of depth, darkness, difficulty, etc.He peered into the dim wardrobe but couldn't make out anything inside it.
She looked (down) into the well to see if she could see the bottom.
I wasn't aware of the problem, but give me a day or two and I'll look into it.
At least in AE, you can also use 'inside' and 'on top of' as prepositions, and those tend to be more idiomatic with everyday things at home.You can just set the mugs there on top of the microwave.
Put all your toys and clothes inside your closet, not lying around out in the open all over everything!
No, no, I meant inside the buffet, not on top of it.
I even looked inside all the cabinets and drawers, not just here on the counter where it usually stays, but I still can't find the wine stopper.
Actually that bowl usually goes up on top of the cabinet, not inside it.
(Again, with 'goes' meaning 'sits/stays/rests,' which is how we understand 'belongs,' unlike 'gehören' with direction which takes the accusative.)
Hope that helps at least somewhat. I'm actually not sure how to express the difference in German; would you maybe need to add a word like 'hinein' or 'hinauf'?