Grammar 101: Too vs To – Learn the difference

by IELTS — February 10th, 2020

Too vs to: These two words cause a lot of confusion and it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference between the two.

“Too” is an adverb. It can be used to replace words such as “excessively”, “additionally”, “as well” or “also”. “To”, on the other hand, is a versatile preposition that can be used in various situations and contexts. It’s generally used to indicate a direction, like “toward” and “until”. Let’s learn the difference between too vs to.

Because they are pronounced the same but have different meanings, we call these words homophones. These words are often confused – even by native English speakers. So, how to tell the difference between them? In this IELTS Grammar 101, we’ll give you some tips on telling them apart.

  • Difference between too and to
  • Synonyms of too and to
  • Use too and to in a sentence

Click each topic to learn more about the differences between too and to.

Too or to: the difference

Too

Is an adverb: A word that describes, gives more information about a verb, adjective, adverb or phrase.

To

Is a preposition: A word usually preceding a noun or pronoun, which expresses relations to another word or element.

Too or to: the definitions

Too

  • To a higher degree, or more than needed.
  • In addition, or also.

To

  • Expressing motion, direction or moving towards (a place, person, or thing)
Too or to: the synonyms

Too

Could also mean (synonyms): excessively, overly, also, as well, in addition, additionally, furthermore, exceptionally.

To

Synonyms include: toward, towards, into, for, until, with.

Too or to: in a sentence

Too

  • I have an older sister too.
  • He was the first to arrive – and he woke up late too!
  • She wasn’t too excited about her upcoming birthday.
  • These shoes are too small – I’ll need to return them.
  • I’m not too sure how to answer this exam question.
  • I’ll bring a roast chicken, and some dessert, too.

To

  • I’ll have to investigate it.
  • I need to go to work today.
  • “Will you be going shopping today” “I’m hoping to.”
  • She informed me to fill in the application.
  • He’s not confident enough to go up on stage.
  • Can you tell me where to go?
  • To be honest, I don’t like that dress.
  • He travelled to Europe last year.
  • I gave it to my brother.
  • It’s twenty to twelve.

Want to learn more about commonly confused words?

In written English, it is important to know the correct spelling of a word you want to use. You don’t want to write “weak” when you mean “week” even though they sound the same. In spoken English, spelling is less important, but pronunciation is. Think about the word “lead” which can be pronounced as “led” or “leed.” Because these words cause a lot of confusion, it’s well worth to spend a few minutes to know the difference: homophones vs homographs vs homonyms. Read more here.

People often use elude when they mean allude, or write allude when they should really write elude. There are other commonly confused words too: Do you know the difference between “belief” or “believe”? That is the question of another article where we explain the difference between these two commonly misused words. Read it here.

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