Understanding to vs too will make you a skilled writer, and help you avoid embarrassing grammar mistakes.
When it comes to commonly confused words, to vs too is probably at the top of the list. These homophones trip up writers frequently when they just can’t remember whether the word needs two o’s or one.
While too and to will likely always be something you have to think about, there are some ways you can keep the different meanings of these words straight. Keep this guide handy, so you can get it right whenever you need to write one of these words.
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To vs Too – How to Make the Right Choice
When you’re writing along and need to choose between too and to, you can choose the correct word every time with a little English grammar lesson. Here is a closer look at the function of these two words in the English language.
To is a Preposition
The word to with just one o is a preposition. It actually has many different meanings, such as:
- The direction of movement (he went to the West)
- A place of arrival (going to church)
- The relationship between words in a sentence (attached to your boyfriend)
- A range or time period (nine to five)
Because it is a preposition, to always has an object.
To is an Infinitive
To has another use as the start of an infinitive verb. An infinitive is the base form of a verb with the word to at the front, such as in the famous phrase “to be or not to be.” Here are some examples of to used as an infinitive:
- To err is human.
- We are the kind of family who makes it a priority to go to church.
- The child wanted to believe in Santa, even though he thought his parents were the real bringers of the gifts.
Sometimes writers and speakers will leave off the verb, leaving the word to hanging, as in these examples:
- I don’t want to. (This could be written “I don’t want to go/play/visit, making it an infinitive.)
- He doesn’t play tuba now, but he used to. (Here you could say, “He used to play,” making it an infinitive.)
Too is an Adverb
Too functions as an adverb. It has a few meanings, including:
- In addition
- As well
It often comes at the end of a sentence or right before an adjective or other adverb. When it comes at the end of the sentence, it has a comma before it.
Telling The Difference Between Too And To
Too and to are homophones, so when you speak you don’t need to know the difference. However, before you post on social media or write a blog post, you are going to need to differentiate between the two.
To has more uses than too. If you are using the word as an adverb meaning “also,” “very” or “excessively,” you will use the word too. Otherwise, you likely need the word to.
If the word is not offset by commas, and it has another word connected to it and directly after it, then chances are high you need to use to. This could be an infinitive verb or a prepositional phrase, but to remains the correct word to use.
To vs Too vs Two
To make this comparison even more confusing, consider the fact that this word pair has a third homonym, the word two. Two is the number that represents a pair of things. This is one of the few groups of three homophones in the English language, like they’re, there and their.
Even though the meaning of two is distinct since it is a number, many people still get the spelling wrong simply because the words sound the same. Sometimes even skilled writers who know the difference slip up because they do not sufficiently proofread their work. Keeping to, too and two separate is critical to accurate writing.
Example Sentences of To and Too
To better understand the differences between these two words, consider these example sentences:
- While everyone loves chocolate, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. (This sentence uses to as an infinitive and too in the sense of meaning an excessive amount.)
- Let’s grab some pizza and then go to the football game. (This sentence uses to as a preposition.)
- Does your best friend want to go, too? (Here we have an infinitive and an adverb that means “as well.”)
- He finally got engaged to his long-term girlfriend. (This is a classic prepositional use of the word to.)
- Too much information can be dangerous. (This is an adverb that describes the adjective how.)
A Final Word On To Vs Too
Now that you have a better understanding of when to use to vs too, you may think that you will never misuse these words again. Yet it’s far too common for skilled English writers to make a mistake simply because they make a typo or forget to thoroughly proof their work.
To make sure that you always get these right, consider running your work through a grammar checker, like Grammarly, that will catch this and other common errors. This will ensure that homonyms don’t trip you up.
FAQs On To Vs Too
When to use to vs too?
In English writing, use the word to when you are writing an infinitive or a prepositional phrase. Use the word too when you are writing an adverb.
How do you use too in a sentence?
The word too is an adverb that means excessively, also, in addition, and very. It is often at the end of the sentence to add emphasis, but it can also precede another adverb to modify it.
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