To vs. Too: Whats the Difference?

These two little words cause a lot of grief for English learners. It is quite common to see them misused all over the place. If you often forget when to use which, read this quick guide. We will explain when and how to use to vs. too, along with examples of using them in sentences. So without delay, let’s get started.

When to Use “To”

To is a common preposition in the English language used to express motion in the direction of a specific location. For example, she was walking down to the city center. Here to is indicating a direction toward something. 

To also shows the infinitive form of a verb. For example, she wants to sing. Infinitives can be combined with various verbs such as want, arrange, hope, etc.

Besides this, to is also used to indicate time in the same sense as the time expression “until.” 

Let’s see some examples of to in sentences for more clarity.

“To” for Movement

  • He is flying to Dubai on Saturday for a meeting.
  • The captain sailed to the nearest port.
  • She went to the grocery store.
  • The dog ran to his owner’s side.

“To” as Time Expression (Till or Until)

  • The team worked to six and then left.
  • I usually work from nine in the morning to six o’clock.

“To” as Infinitive

  • John hasn’t worked so hard to give up.
  • She spent money to get some help.
  • I can’t cheat her to earn money.
  • He bought some flowers to give to his girlfriend.
  • She locked the door to keep me out.

Is “To” Capitalized?

Depending on the capitalization style that you use, the word “to” may be capitalized. For example in Chicago style, you should lowercase the “to” in an infinitive. However, in AP style “to” is now uppercase in an infinitive.

When to Use “Too”

The word too is an adverb used to mean “also” or “in addition to.” Additionally, too is used to express “excess.” Let’s see some examples in sentences.

“Too” to Indicate Excess

  • The food was too spicy for me.
  • It isn’t easy to see too far at night.
  • She was too upset that day.
  • The food was too delicious for words!
  • He is too weak to walk.
  • You’re too funny!
  • This young puppy has too much energy.
  • He is too proud to accept any help.

“Too” to Express in “Addition to” and “Also”

  • He is fast and strong too.
  • Love you too, Mom.
  • I am fond of singing too.
  • He will have the lobster, too.

Note: The word two is also pronounced the same as too and to. However, it can’t be used instead of either of them, as it is a number between one and three. For example, there were only two people on the bus at that time.

When to Put a Comma Before or After the Word “Too”

For a lot of people, it’s a matter of confusion. Well, it depends on the writer’s intention. You can use a comma If you want to emphasize the “too” at the end of a sentence, but if not, you can get away leaving them out.

Examples

I love you, too (emphasis)

I love you too. (no emphasis) 

However, if “too” appears in the middle of a sentence, you should either use two commas or no commas. It would be incorrect to use a single comma before or after.

Examples

  • I, too, like being with you. (emphasis)
  • I too like being with you. (no emphasis)

How to Remember the Difference Between “To” and “Too”

As both words are pronounced the same way, people often mix them up. It might not cause that much trouble in a speech, but it is strictly not acceptable in writing. There are plenty of ways you can remember the difference between the two. 

You can remember that when the word indicates more, you need to use too as it has an extra “o” than to. You can also replace the word mentally with also and very.


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