To vs. Too: Clarifying Commonly Confused Words

By: Sascha Bos  | 
closeup of a child looking something up in a dictionary
No need to bust out the dictionary! We've got you covered with the difference between "too" and "to." Jamie Grill / Getty Images

Do you know when to use to vs. too? In spoken English language, the two words sound exactly the same, but they have different meanings.

That makes them homophones — two words (or more) that sound the same but have separate meanings (like witch and which, new and knew and for and four). In this case, there are actually three words that sound the same: to, too and two.


"Two" refers to the number two (2). But the other two words — to and too — can be a little trickier to tell apart. Here's how to ensure you use the grammatically correct word every time.

When to Use 'To' (With Example Sentences)

"To" is a preposition that can have several meanings. It's a preposition that can indicate duration, direction or distance. For example:

  • I drove from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
  • We're open from Monday to Friday.
  • She walked three to four blocks out of her way.

The word "to" is also the first part of the infinitive form of a verb, like the phrase "to use" in the heading above. Infinitives are verb stems. In the English language, infinitives always consist of the word "to" plus a verb. (The "to" can come before or after the verb.) For example:


  • I love to run.
  • We want to eat.

When an infinitive verb is modified by other words, such as adverbs, it's called an infinitive phrase. Infinitive phrases contain three words or more. For example:

  • I forgot to turn in my homework.
  • I need to get to work early.

Learn more about infinitives from the Purdue Online Writing Lab.


When to Use 'Too' (With Example Sentences)

Use the word "too" when describing an excessive amount of something or something done to an excessive degree. For example:

  • Those kids are too loud.
  • I bought too much bottled water
  • It's too hot in here.

Sometimes "too" can have the same meaning as the word "also." For example:


  • I want to come too!


To vs. Too: How to Remember the Key Differences

Homophones can be one of the trickiest parts of language learning, especially when it comes to written English grammar.

An easy way to remember the distinct meanings of "to" and "too" is that "too" has an extra O. In a way, "too" has too many Os!


You can ensure you write the correct sentence by asking yourself if your sentence is about an excessive amount (too much) of something or if it conveys the meaning "also." If so, ad the "extra" O and use the word "too." If not, it's probably "to."