Little things can sometimes cause big problems and this is equally true in English as in life in general. As this installment of our commonly confused words blog series demonstrates, one small change between three homophones may not change their spelling but definitely changes how they are used!
Two vs Too vs To:
In order to clearly come to terms with these sound-alikes it is probably best to start with the simplest: two. Two is the number after one and before three, no more and no less. Thus we would use it as follows:
Example: I want two tickets for the concert, please.
Note: You can remember that two is used only to refer to the number by thinking of all of the words in English which refer to doubles and begin with tw: twin, twice, etc.
Too, by contrast, is a little more confusing. This word can mean either “also” or “very” as in the following examples:
Example: I want a ticket for the concert, too.
Example: These concert tickets are too expensive!
Note: You can remember when to use “too” by thinking of the extra “o” in the word. After all, since too (as used in the second example) often refers to an excessive amount of something, you can think of the second “o” as a little extra reminder.
To, though the shortest of the three, has the most uses. In addition to being part of the simple (infinitive) form of a verb – I want to go to the park – it can also be used a preposition that indicates direction.
Example: I am going to salsa classes because I am learning to dance.
Note: The first use of to here is as a preposition and the second as a part of the verb.
Keeping this all straight might seem confusing but all it takes is a little practice. Check out our commonly confused words home page and soon you will be get it right every time!