Two of the most frustrating words in English are to and too. They are similar in pronunciation but have different definitions, uses, and spelling.
This article has everything you need to know about to vs. too. Find out when to use to as a preposition or adverb and too as an adverb. Then, answer the quiz below to test your knowledge.
To, Too, and Two
To, too, and two are homophones. We call words with the same pronunciation homophones. But these words have distinct meanings and spellings.
In English writing, to is a preposition that expresses motion in the direction of.
Too is an adverb meaning to a higher degree than is desirable, possible, or permissible. It also has another meaning in excess, in addition, or also.
Two is a number that comes after one. In the dictionary, it means the equivalent to the sum of one and one or one less than three. In numerical symbols, it’s 2.
When to Use To
To has two meanings. First, it can be an alternative to toward. It functions as a preposition that expresses direction.
- I’m walking to school.
- Let’s go to the store for coffee and bread.
To is also a preposition that shows contact toward another item, person, or place.
- Can you pin this frame to the wall?
- My eyes are glued to you.
To also indicates an object or recipient, which is also an alternative to for.
- She passed the phone to her.
- Matilda gave the gift to Julius.
Another prepositional meaning of to is when showing range.
- My baby can finally count from 1 to 10.
- I work at the pizza place from 8 AM to 8 PM.
To can also be a start of an adverb, which means coming into awareness.
- I chose to stay here.
- I want to write you a song.
Note that “to stay” and “to write” are the infinitive forms of a verb.
When to Use Too
Too means also.
- I’m attending the event, too.
- Olivia can’t wait to see you too.
The Chicago Manual of Style states that it’s up to you whether you want to add a comma before too. If you are writing a formal or technical piece, it’s advisable to add a comma. But you can ditch it during casual conversations.
Too conveys something in excess.
- Lou’s laptop is too slow.
- It gets too cold in the evening.
Is it To or Too You?
The correct prepositional phrase is to you, which means for you or toward you.
- The dog gave the ball to you.
Is it You to or You Too?
The correct phrase is you too, which means you also.
- Person 1: You’re beautiful!
Person 2: Thanks. You too!
Is it I Would Love to or Too?
I would love to is the correct statement, which is followed by a verb to show an infinitive.
- I would love to meet you someday.
Is it to Long or Too Long?
Use too long to produce a correct sentence. This phrase means very long.
- The movie was too long that I fell asleep.
Is it to Fast or Too Fast?
The correct phrase is too fast. Here are some sample sentences.
- Don’t drive too fast.
- The rap is too fast.
Is it to Bad or Too Bad?
The correct phrase is too bad to indicate that something is regrettable but is now beyond retrieval.
- Too bad, but we can always try again next time.
Is it Too Hard or to Hard?
Too hard is the correct phrase, which means very difficult.
- I didn’t finish on time because the test was too hard.
Is it I Need to or I Need Too?
The correct phrase is I need to, which is followed by a verb.
- I need to wash my clothes tomorrow.
What I Come Home to or Too?
What I come home to is the correct phrase.
- This pile of mess is what you would come home to if your dog is untrained.
Examples of To in a Complete Sentence
Heavily-indebted Chinese property giant Evergrande says it will receive $818m after canceling a contract to buy land rights for a new football stadium. [BBC].
The battle between Asia and Europe to lock in gas supplies is stepping up a gear, heightening the risks of a further surge in prices that would add fresh fuel to the cost of living crisis. [Financial Times].
Examples of Too in a Complete Sentence
Batgirl was not big enough to justify the additional promotional cost for a cinema rollout, yet somehow too big to dump onto the small screen. [The Guardian]
O’Leary said on Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “We just print too much money.” [Yahoo Finance]
Tougher restrictions targeting YMTC still may happen, but whatever action happens now will be too little, too late. [Forbes]
To and Too in a Nutshell
To and too are homophones with the same sounds but have separate meanings and spellings. Here’s when to use both words:
- Use to to show direction, contact, range, the act of giving/receiving, or the infinitive form of the verb.
- Use too to mean also or in excess.
There are plenty of homophones in English that might frustrate you. But remember that when it comes to homophones, language learning is never too much to handle. Test your knowledge through the worksheet below!