Too vs To: The Difference and When to Use

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When do you use “too,” and when do you use “to”?

Let’s discuss the difference between “too” and “to” and when it is appropriate to use each. We’ll also provide examples to see how they are used in context.

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The Difference Between “Too” and “To”

“Too” and “to” are homophones. This means that they sound similar, but they have different meanings.

“Too” (adverb) and “to” (adverb, infinitive marker and preposition) have multiple meanings.

“Too” typically means that something is excessive or more than necessary. It can mean “also.”

“To” can indicate movement or direction towards something. It forms the infinitive of verbs and is used after some adjectives, nouns, and many verbs of agreeing, wanting and needing. It has many different meanings.

Take the example:

  • The room was too hot for me to sleep in. (“too” to show excess)
  • I need to go to the store. (“to” used for direction)

How to use each word correctly

Now that we’ve highlighted some of the main differences between “too” and “to,” let’s look at other examples and contexts.

When to Use “Too”

“Too” is most commonly used when talking about:

  • Something is excessive or more than necessary, meaning “very” or “extremely.”
  • It can be used at the end of a sentence to indicate “also.”
  • It is sometimes used in colloquial language for emphasis.

Example Sentences of “Too”

Let’s take a look at some examples:

  • I’m too tired to go out tonight. (used to mean “too much”)
  • The food was too spicy for me to eat.
  • You’re driving too fast!
  • You are too young to learn how to drive.
  • That boy is too cute. (used for emphasis)
  • “I, too, believe it’s the right answer.
  • Charlie is coming to the zoo too. (used to mean “also”)
  • I like pizza too.

“Too” can also be used before “many,” “much,” “few,” “little,” etc. For example:

  • I have too much work to do.
  • She has too many cats.
  • They have too little time.

When to Use “To”

“To” is used more broadly than “too” and can be used to indicate movement or direction, as well as other relationships. It may be used to talk about:

  • Direction and destination
  • As a receiver of an action
  • Telling the time
  • Show the range of possibilities or time range
  • Used after some verbs, such as “agree to,” “appear to,” “need to,” “want to,” and “seem to”
  • Used after some adjectives, such as “nice to” and “rude to”
  • Used to form the infinitive of the verb, such as “to do,” “to see,” “to get

“To” is used in many situations that we won’t be able to cover entirely in this post. However, we will do our best to cover when it is most frequently used.

Example Sentence of “To”

Here are some example sentences of “to” to give you an idea of how it can be used:

  • I am going to the store.
  • Take a right to get to the zoo.
  • We drive to work every day.
  • Can you pass the salt to me?
  • The teacher gave candy to the students.
  • Can you get me that book? It’s right next to you.
  • I need to talk to you about something important.
  • I have to take medicine for my stomachache.
  • Here is a list of phone numbers to call in an emergency.
  • I want to see the dentist.
  • The baby will be born in 6 to 8 weeks.
  • The birthday party is from 2 pm to 5 pm.
  • I agree to the terms and conditions.
  • I don’t know the answer to the question.
  • He seems to be sick.
  • Sally decides to clean up the dishes.
  • The appointment is at quarter to five.
  • The grandson is very polite to his elders.

When to Use “Two”

“Two” is used to indicate the number 2.

Here are some examples of how to use “two”:

  • I have two cats.
  • She is two years old.
  • We need two more people for the team.
  • I have $20 in twos.
  • There are two tickets left.
  • Two of us can lift this table.

Too or To: Which Word is More Appropriate?

Let’s try a quiz to practice using “to” and “too” in sentences.

1. “Have a nice weekend.” “You _____.” (you to/ you too)

Incorrect: you to

Correct: you too

2. “Please refer _____ the instructions that came with the blender.” (refer to/ refer too)

Incorrect: refer too

Correct: refer to

3. I referred _____ many people to that website and didn’t get any credit for it. (referred to/ referred too)

Incorrect: referred to

Correct: referred too

4. I ate _____ much fish for lunch.” (to much/ too much)

Incorrect: to much

Correct: too much

5. “Luke ran fast _____ the park.” (fast to/ fast too)

Incorrect: ran fast too the park

Correct: ran fast to the park

6. I can’t eat it; it has _____ many calories.” (to many/ too many)

Incorrect: to many

Correct: too many

7. “Enjoy the holiday.” “Thanks, you _____.” (you to/ you too)

Incorrect: thanks, you to

Correct: thanks, you too

8. “Would you like to go to the cinema with me?” “I would love _____.” (love to/ love too)

Incorrect: I would love too

Correct: I would love to [go to the cinema]

9. “It’s been way _____ long since we saw each other.” (to long/ too long)

Incorrect: to long

Correct: too long

10. “You have _____ much work to do.” (have to/ have too)

Incorrect: You have to

Correct: You have too

11. “You have _____ brush your teeth before bed.” (have to/ have too)

Incorrect: You have too

Correct: You have to

12. “You are _____ young to be drinking alcohol.” (to young/ too young)

Incorrect: to young

Correct: too young

13. “I love you _____.” (you to/ you too)

Incorrect: I love you to

Correct: I love you too.

14. “The gloves are _____ small for my hands.” (to small/ too small)

Incorrect: to small

Correct: too small

15. “Will I clean the dishes?” “You don’t have _____.” (have to/ have too)

Incorrect: You don’t have too

Correct: You don’t have to

16. “I like that _____.” (that to/ that too)

Incorrect: that to

Correct: that too

17. “I am _____ old to be doing this.” (to old/ too old)

Incorrect: to old

Correct: too old

18. “What are you up _____ this weekend?” (up to/ up too)

Incorrect: up too

Correct: up to

19. The taxi driver pulled up. “Where ____ma’am?” (where to/ where too)

Incorrect: where too

Correct: where to

20. “I got the virus.” “Not you _____.” (you to/ you too)

Incorrect: not you to

Correct: not you too.

21. “I used _____ go to my gran’s house every weekend.” (used to/ used too)

Incorrect: used too

Correct: used to

22. “It is _____ late to start now.” (to late/ too late)

Incorrect: to late

Correct: too late.

23. “He is referring _____ the instructions.” (referring to/ referring too)

Incorrect: referring too

Correct: referring to

24. “I need _____ go to the toilet.” (need to/ need too)

Incorrect: need too go

Correct: need to go

25. “He runs _____ fast.” (to fast/ too fast)

Incorrect: to fast

Correct: too fast.

Using a Comma with “Too”

Sometimes we can use a comma with “too.” For example, we can say: “I love you too” or, “I love you, too.” This will depend on the writer’s style and how they want to convey their message. A comma slows down the sentence and may be used for emphasis. If you use “too” in the middle of the sentence, you might need to include the comma. For example, “He was, too, a very talented musician.”

In Conclusion

“Too” and “to” might look and sound the same, but they have different meanings. We can quickly check the meanings of the words by using an autocorrelation tool when writing, but we should also try to understand why we spell them the way we do.

If you learn that we use “too” to mean “also” or “too much,” and for emphasis, we can more or less assume “to” is used for everything else.

Comment with your own “to” and “too” sentences. I will be reading! Good luck!

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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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