Common English Errors: To, Too, and Two (updated 20 Jan 2016) Featured

As you know, English has a dreadful lot of homonyms — words that sound, and even look the same, but have different meanings. While this makes it a great language for puns and word games, it also makes it hard to know when to choose the right word, and it's easy to trip up!

To, too, and two are examples. Here are the differences between these three little words.

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To is a preposition, indicating movement in the direction of. For example: My duck walked to the shops.

Too is an adverb, or modifier. It indicates "more than is desirable, allowed, or possible". For example:  I ate too many jelly snakes, and felt terribly terribly sick. Too also means "in addition to; also", as in: I want the second bag of jelly snakes, too.

Two is a cardinal number, a counting word representing 2. The W in this word makes it quite different from to and too. It's related to the word twain (an archaic name for two — used in phrases such as Never the twain shall meet, which means "These two things are so different, they shall never be together".

How to remember the difference between to, too, and two


If you're referring to the number, then use two. Remember that two and twain are related, and both words contain the letter W.

For to and too, count the number of Os — the word that means excess or extra (too) has an extra O!

Unless you mean the number two or too (as in, for example, too much or extra or as well as, etc), then you probably want to.

Test yourself

Test your understanding of to, too, and two by filling in the blanks below with the correct version:

1. ___ be, or not ___ be, that is the question.
2. This question is number ___ in this test.
3. Daniel was worried he exercised ___ much at the gym today.
4. Like Daniel, Troy was worried, ___.
5. If you want ___ improve your vocabulary, you might want ___ check out Ultimate Vocabulary.
6. Ultimate Vocabulary not only works, it's good value, ___!
7. You can never know ___ many words!
8. When I was ___, I ate ___ many lollies and had ___ go ___ the dentist often.

1(a) To; (b) to
2. two
3. too
4. too
5(a) to; (b) to
6. too
7. too
8(a) two; (b) too; (c) to; (d) to

*We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of Ultimate Vocabulary because we are happy to endorse this award-winning vocabulary-improvement software.






Last modified on Wednesday, 20 January 2016 04:11
English Language Skills (Denise)

English Language Skills (Denise)

I'm a syndicated puzzle writer, with 8 puzzle books to my name, including Word Searches for Dummies and Cracking Codes and Cryptograms for Dummies (with Mark Koltko-Rivera). I have a background in science and graphic design, and am a trained indexer. My favourite puzzles are cryptic crosswords. and my favourite books are murder mysteries and cookbooks. I am also a very keen knitter.

I write a blog all about puzzles, called Puzzling.

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