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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two, Too, and To

The three words two, too, and to stump even experienced writers. Here are a few little tips that may help clarify the meanings and usages of these three homonyms.

Two is always a number, so not often confused with the remaining two words, too and to.

Too is an adverb that can be exchanged for words such as “also”. It implies something extra or more than.

EX: Johnny will help us, too (also).

It is too cold for swimming. (colder temperature than normal for swimming).

It is too icy for the buses today. (Icier than acceptable for safety).

The word to has many meanings.

1) It addresses moving toward something or relating to a position.

EX: I am going to the mountains. (toward a destination).

It is five to seven. (The time is moving toward five o’clock).

Get to the point. (Reach the final destination of the discussion).

2) Demonstrates an intention or a purpose.

EX: I attend school to learn.

We are going to watch our sister at the ballgame.

3) Defines a position.

EX: The store is next to the house. (tells where the store is located in relation to the house).

4) Used prior to a verb to indicate the infinitive.

EX: I would like to clarify the meaning of these words.

Look up the word to in a dictionary, and you will find several definitions. The above are simply a few of them.

Most of the time, if two, representing a number is not the appropriate word, and too, meaning also or extra, does not apply, to is the word you need for grammatical correctness.

Happy writing!

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