To and Too

What Is an Expository Essay?
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Sometimes a seemingly small error can turn a great paper into a dud. Using to when you should have used too might seem like a small matter to you, but it can be one of those errors that make the red ink pens fly. This is one mix-up that makes teachers and professors crazy!

The key to remembering when to use too instead of to is the extra "o" in too.

The word "too" is used when you're referring to an extra or excessive amount of something.

For instance:

  • I'm too tired to do another math problem. (excessively tired)
  • I've eaten too many blueberries and I'm feeling sick. (an excessive amount)
  • I'm coming to your party too. (as an extra person)
  • I think the school day starts too early. (excessively early)

The word "to" has many uses.

1. It can be a preposition expressing a certain direction or location:

  • I am going to the coffee shop.

2. It can be a preposition that identifies a thing or person being affected by something:

  • That situation seems crazy to me.

3. It can make up (or indicate) an infinitive verb form.

  • Marigold loves to sing.
  • To live well is my goal.

More Tips for Using Too

If you are already in the habit of mixing to and too, it will take a little practice to correct yourself. They key is to stop and make a conscious decision each time you start to write the word "to." Ask yourself if:

  • You could substitute the word very.
  • You could substitute the word excessively.
  • You are dealing with an increase in number or degree of something.
  • You could substitute the word also.
  • You're talking about going past a certain limit.
  • You could substitute the word exceedingly.

Notice how each case above deals with the notion of an "extra" amount? Just think about that extra "o" in "too" as you write and proof read.

You'll be cured of a bad habit in no time!

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