Funny Grammar Mistakes: To and Too
Another one of those pesky English grammar rules that just keeps on tripping people up is the difference between the words ‘to’ and ‘too’ – people just can’t seem to get them straight! So avoid making the same mistakes yourself with our quick and easy grammar guide.
The word ‘to’ in English grammar has several meanings. It is used in front of the infinitive (or stem) form of the verb:
For example: to eat, to sleep, to walk
In sentence form: I find it hard to sleep; the baby is trying to eat
For example: I am going to school; shall we go to the cinema
So whoever designed this bathroom sign has used the wrong form of the word, because they need the ‘to’ form to precede the verb ‘turn off’.
Top tip: whenever you are writing the word, check whether it is followed by a verb in the infinitive or a place – if so, the chances are you need to use ‘to’.
The word ‘too’ is even simpler as far as English grammar rules go, because it has only two very clear meanings. One is for excess, when you have more or less of something than is needed:
For example: too many, too much, too far, too few, too soon
The other meaning is interchangeable with the phrase ‘as well’:
It is a more common English grammar mistake for people to use the word ‘to’ when they mean ‘too’ than vice versa, so make sure you remember to use this form when you are talking about something being ‘too’ much.
You can also do a quick check to see whether the phrase ‘as well’ would fit in your sentence in place of the word – if it does, then the form you are looking for is ‘too’.
If you follow these simple rules you should manage to avoid the mistake of this sign maker, who is using the word to mean ‘too’ much of something (in this case ‘too bad’) and therefore has used the wrong form of the word again!