Words to Confuse II

This time around we continue to look at words that confuse. I see this mistake all the time. When to use “to” or “too”? These two words are called homophones and are included with other pairs such as your/you’re, buy/by, miner/minor, weather/whether and stationary/stationery.

Too is an adverb, and actually has two different meanings. The first being: Excessively or to an excessive degree. The second usage is: in addition. Here are some examples of “too” being used in the excessive case “You worry too much” or “Isn’t it just too obvious?” In these cases, the adverb too precedes an adjective. Examples of too being used as “In addition” are “Mary is coming too” or “I want to go, too!”

“To” is one of the more widely used words in the English language and has several different definitions and parts of speech. In its most common usage, it is part of infinitive verb phrases, such as in “to eat” or “to go,” and as in preposition such as: “Let’s go to the store” or “Give it to me.”

On a side note: “Two” is simply the number 2, exclusively. In formal writing, numbers between 0-10 should be written out as in: “I have two sticks of gum.” While larger numbers are typically written in numerical format, as in “There are 3,433 kittens for sale at the pet store.”

When in doubt, use “to,” but remember that if you’re meaning to say “in addition” or “to an excessive degree,” use “too.”



About Ron

Host and producer of Ron's Amazing Stories since 2011.
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