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THERE ARE TOO MANY TWOS TO COUNT

16 February, 2016

Even spell-checkers will not help folks with this one, and others are going to wonder whether your point is valid if you have trouble spelling a three-letter word.

Two gets a bit of a break since it can be represented with the digit 2, though I’ve seen it butchered as well.  To is supposed to be used primarily as a preposition, and sometimes as an adverb.  In that, it indicates the direction of an action, as in “He went to the store”.  However, it is frequently misused in place of too, such as saying “I want some ice-cream to”.  That raises the question of what it is that one wants ice-cream to do.

 Too is a degree word, or adverb, as in “He was driving too fast”.  Once again, it is difficult to tell whether the problem is a simple spelling problem or a monkey-see-monkey-do fad.  Seeing multiple people using to for too leads others to do the same, which — well, you get the picture.

Too and to are homonyms.  That is to say, they sound alike when pronounced but are spelled differently.  (Many spelling transgressions arise from pronouncing words incorrectly in the first place.  For instance, many pronounce your and you’re the same. Your should more closely rhyme with yore, while you’re should begin rhyming with you (yew-er).  It is, after all, a contraction of “you are”.  It does make spelling words correctly more difficult if one does not know how they are pronounced.)

In most cases, the misuse of to for too is saved by the context of the sentence.  However, it certainly has no place in business writing, and will mark you as having questionable knowledge when writing in social media.  It does not help the case you are making when you cannot spell a two- or three-letter word.  There may be something to be said about global climate change advocates rarely making this mistake while deniers do so frequently — among other misused words.

 

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