Homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings) can cause confusion. It’s easy to write hear instead of here, there instead of their, or to instead of too. Anything can happen when you’re quickly writing. That’s why editing and proofreading are so important.
If you know the difference between to, too and two, then this post is probably not for you. In which case, before you go, just remember to check your work before sending it out there. Better still, why not send it to Dittography for a professional edit or proofread to put your mind at ease?
If you struggle with when to use to, too or two, then stick around.
Let’s start with the easier one: two.
Two is the number two (2) and is used as a noun or adjective.
- One, two, three…
- I have two mangoes.
- This hotel room sleeps two people.
- She’s eaten two cupcakes.
- To break in two.
To functions in three ways: as a preposition, as an infinitive when it precedes a verb and (less frequently) as an adverb. What does that mean?
As a preposition, to always precedes a noun such as:
- I’m writing to mum.
- I speak to Doug.
- You’re going to the park.
When used as an infinitive, it’s used like so:
- I want to swim.
- You like to dance.
- She prefers to drive.
As an adverb, to indicate moving towards something, someone or a point. For example:
- Pull the blinds to
- He came to (consciousness)
Too also has two functions, both as adverbs. The first is as a synonym for also or as well.
- I’d like that too.
- Can I come too?
- Did she bring chicken sandwiches too?
The second means excessively, either before an adverb or adjective.
- He’s too old for the bumper cars.
- I drank too much.
- You’re running too fast.
- I’m only too grateful for your kindness.
One quick way to check if you’ve used the right form of to/too is to replace it with ‘also’ or ‘too much’. If the substitution makes sense, use too. Otherwise use to.