To and Too
To and too are homophones—words that sound the same but have different meanings—that’s just one of the reasons they are so often confused and misused by English language learners. The other reason is that to and too are spelled so similarly! Though technically not homographs—words spelled identically that have different meanings—they are just that one little “o” away from each other, and that extra “o” doesn’t stand for ‘nothing’.
Words so Similar Yet Completely Different— To and Too
The word “to” is most often used as a preposition to express direction.
Lori and Will are walking to the mall.
They are going towards the mall.
“To” is the opposite of “from”. In the above sentence, it can also express a destination or endpoint.
“To”, the preposition also often indicates a limit—in time, movement, extension…
I’ll be waiting up to a week for my final grades.
Run just to the yellow house and back again.
AND…”to” the preposition can communicate a purpose or intention.
The student rally was to support the teacher’s union.
“To” can also be an adverb. When you’re trying to so if “to” is being used as an adverb remember that adverbs describe, modify, or give more information about a verb in a sentence.
I am going to leisurely stroll to school.
The “to” used as an adverb is the 1st “to” in the sentence—it modifies the verb, stroll, with the word leisurely.
Practice “to” sentences online, just search for “to” as a preposition and an adverb “worksheets” or “practice tests”.
“Too” is an adverb that means ‘more than necessary’, or ‘in excess’. “Too” also means ‘in addition’, or ‘also’.
That’s way too much money! You only owe me a dollar.
Me too, I want ice cream too.
I feel like it’s easy to remember how you use the word “too” because of that extra “o”—it’s ‘in addition’ to the other “o”, it’s one ‘more than is necessary’J
Some of the most important words in the English language are the smallest ones. Think about how often you say or hear the words to and too and you’ll see that they are nearly as common as English articles! Learning to use all these tiny English language words correctly will be like adding detail in a picture, what you’re communicating becomes clearer.