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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.
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.”
“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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I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!
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