TO, TOO, TWO, and TEW
Recently a friend sent a text which required me to do some interpretation (took me longer to figure out what he meant than it took him to type it). Wrong use of TO, TOO, TWO, or TEW.
Eliminate “TEW.” You have never used it before, nor will you need it unless you are playing “Scrabble.”
I am not a grammar policeman. I make my quota of verbiage mistakes. However, this one is SOOOOO EASY. You merely need to know exactly 3 uses that do not require the word “TO.” That’s it.
Unlike so many other English similar-sounding word variations, this one is incredibly simple. (You could say, “It is too easy.”) No one needs ever make this mistake again. Here are the 3 that you need to know:
1. If you are referring to the number just beyond the number ONE…that’s “TWO.” How easy is that?
2. If you are using a word that means ALSO…that’s “TOO.” (i.e., “Joe went to the store. I went too.”)
3. If you are using a word that means IN EXCESS…that’s “TOO,” too. (i.e., “You are too funny!”)
Every other definition is covered by the word “TO.”
YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW ANY OF THE DEFINITIONS FOR THE WORD “TO.”
This is how I studied for high school tests: If there were 8 definitions I needed to know and it was a matching or multiple choice test … I only studied 7. If the definition or word was one I did not remember…it obviously was the one I had not studied. (And, yes, I usually got an A.) So, to sound intelligent you only need to remember the 3 exceptions.
This strategy did not work well in grad school. I had a prof who gave us 3 hours to write our answers…we only had to answer 2 (TWO) questions. (If you do the math you quickly realize that we had to know LOTS of details and information to be able to write an answer to a single question for 90 minutes.) The second time I took his course I aced his tests 🙂 Those tests were “too” hard. (They were excessively difficult.) When you have to study that hard you need an extra “O.”
Most people have “two” shoes. That is because they need the letter “W” if they are going to WALK in their shoes.
If two friends are going to the store, and you are going “too,” you need an extra “O.” You are the third wheel.
Now tell me – is this difficult?
No, it is not difficult. However, it is important. (“Details at 11:00”)
As I recently told a 6th grade student, “Education does not seem important unless you don’t have it.” Some do not have it and it harms them.
Nearly 23% of American 19 year olds are illiterate. The definition of illiteracy is that they cannot read, write, and/or do math at a 3rd grade level. Guess the percentage of prison inmates who come from that group. Guess the percentage of that group who are using community resources. Guess the percentage of that group whose children also will be found in that group when they turn 19. Guess what percentage of that group is unemployed. (In each of these cases the percentage is very high, often over 50%.)
Now guess what grade you were in when you should have learned “TO, TOO, and TWO.” It was taught in first grade. So, when you misuse this set of words it is significant because you are encouraging others to see you as they would see an illiterate person. If you are not illiterate … why allow yourself to be seen that way? My wife says, “Your reputation is TOO important to allow others to see you as that ignorant.”
It may be OK if you cannot remember how to multiply fractions (that was 6th grade), but you should bone up on what you were taught by the end of 3rd grade. I found that there are online worksheets available which can help you re-learn what you forgot from first, second, and third grades. I figure, for an adult, it should take about a weekend to review first grade. Set yourself apart. Who knows! You may get that promotion you deserve.
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