Too vs. to – which form is correct?

If something is so difficult or extreme that people do not want to deal with it or talk about it, like the problem of too vs. to, you could say it is too hot to handle or to hot too handle? Or is it to(o) hot to(o) handle? Which spelling is correct, too or to, or perhaps both? Read this article to find out!

Too or to? too vs. to. Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Too vs. to – which one is correct?

It turns out that both too and to are correct! However, they are not two alternative spellings of the same word and they differ considerably. How? Read the following section to find out.

Too vs. to – what is the difference?

We have now established that both too and to are correct. But be careful – too and to are classic examples of homophones which makes it very tricky, because even though the pronunciation of these words is the same, they have very different meanings and functions in a sentence.

In short, too is an adverb that means also or excessively. To is a preposition and it is a very frequent word with various meanings, including toward and until. Read the following section to make sure you know the most popular meanings of too and to.

Too – the meaning

Too means also or as well, in addition.
It can also mean to a higher degree, more than needed.

To – the meaning

To is mostly used as a preposition – it relates a noun phrase to some other clause in the sentence, which makes it almost invisible. Some most common definitions of this word are presented below.

To can be used to indicate:

  • direction of movement, a place of arrival, as well as position of something,
  • relationship between words, like possession, attachment, addition, response and belonging,
  • purpose or intention of an action,
  • a range of period of time,
  • similarity or proportion,
  • extent or degree,
  • when the verb that follows is an infinitive,
  • to is also commonly used in idioms.

Too vs. to – Examples from the literature and press

You’re too smart to get mixed up in anything like that. And I told them, too.

Kathryn Stockett, The Help

The act remedied this insanity to some extent; it provides an “innocent owner” defense to those whose property has been seized.

Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow

If the president himself was going to perish unless he was surgically attached to a citizen’s abdomen for nine months, nobody could force that citizen to agree to this assignment.

“Washington Post”, Oct 3, 2022

These nonrelativistic starships, enormously expensive as they would be, look relatively easy to design and build and use compared to starships that travel close to the speed of light.

Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Across the country, flight attendants and airport workers are responding to a hailstorm of workplace issues related to pay and staffing levels.

“Washington Post”, Sep 26, 2022

Written by

After graduating with a MA in English Philology, Kasia lived for almost five years in the UK facing the challenge of trying to master the intricacies of English language, which is her consuming passion. Other things she enjoys doing in her spare time are singing in a local parish band, embroidery, reading, cycling, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and friends.