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5.2.1.1: The Homonyms- To, Too, and Two

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    122494
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    The Homonyms: To, Too, and Two

           The words to, too, and two are another set of tricky homonyms that are often confused by people in writing.  They sound the same, but their meanings are quite different.

    1.  To is probably one of the most difficult words in English because it has two functions:

    an infinitive of the verb marker, and a prepositional phrase marker.  Infinitives are the actual names of verbs: to go, to come, to play, to finish, to do, to have, etc.  When a verb is in its infinitive form, it does not show verb tense or number.  The to is always followed by the base form of the verb.

    It is also a preposition introducing a prepositional phrase indicating a direction either in place or in time: (place) to the store, to the bathroom, to my house, to school, (time) one o’clock to five o’clock, from Monday to Thursday, from 1980 to 2012. 

    2.  Too also has two quite different meanings.  It can mean an excessive quantity and it can mean also.

    As an excessive quantity too has a negative meaning.  It usually says that something is not possible.  For example, the ceiling is too high to reach.  That means I can’t reach the ceiling.  My sister is too old to have any more children.  She is 69 years old.  She can’t get pregnant any more in her life.

    As “also,” too usually comes at the end of a sentence.  For example, Sara is a teacher and I am, too.  We are both teachers.  My wife likes spicy food and I do, too.  Both my wife and I like spicy food.  My son Alex graduated from university, and my son André did, too.  They both graduated from universities.

    3.  Two is a number between the number one and the number three.  I have two boys.  We all have two eyes.

    Examples:

    We have two cars in my family.  My wife has one and I have one, too.

    I want to go to the store this afternoon to buy some bread and milk.

    My two sons went to a Chinese restaurant to eat lunch.  My wife and I went there, too.

    I worked from one to three in the lab today.  Graham worked there, too.

    I was too tired to go to the movie, and my wife and two sons were, too.

    To, Too, and Two Exercise 

    Exercise 8:  Fill in the blanks with the correct form of to, too, or two, please.

    1.  I wanted ------------ eat a sandwich, so I went ----------- Subway sandwich shop, and my friend went there, ------------.

    2.  I thought I would buy a new car, but it was ------------ expensive, so I didn’t buy one.

    3.  I used ----------- love ------------ go ------------ baseball games with my Uncle Carl.  Sometimes a friend of his would go ------------ the ball park with us, ------------.

    4.  My father always liked ------------ go fishing, and I liked ------------ go, ------------.

    5.  ------------ eat in restaurants every night is ------------ expensive for most people ------------ do.

    6.  ------------ thousand dollars is not ------------ much ----------- pay for a good used car.

    7.  In order ------------ speak English well, ----------- hours of studying at home is not ----------- much time ------------ spend.

    8.  My friend needed ------------ buy a new computer, and he had ------------ pay five hundred and seventy -------------- dollars.

    9.  ------------ men tried ------------ rob a bank at ----------- o’clock yesterday afternoon.

    10.  Mike came ----------- school at 7:30 today and at 7:30 yesterday, ------------.

    11.  Jane brought ------------ loaves of bread ------------ the party, and she brought a cake and some ice cream, ------------.

    12.  It would be ------------ difficult for me ----------- learn ------------ speak Chinese at my age.

    13.  ------------ old men were sitting on a park bench next ----------- a lovely young woman who was having fun talking ------------ them.

    14.  Young children run ------------ fast for me ------------ keep up with them.

    15.  My friend Roger is ------------ old ----------- play baseball anymore, and I am, -----------.

    16.  Joe will buy ------------ presents for the twins ------------ bring ------------ their birthday party.

    17.  I hope ------------ win the lottery that will be held in ------------ days.

    18.  ------------ weeks is ------------ long ------------ spend in the woods ----------- go camping with ------------ young children because they are just ------------ young ------------ enjoy themselves.


    5.2.1.1: The Homonyms- To, Too, and Two is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Don Bissonnette.

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