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To, Two and Too.

These three are occasionally muddled. Luckily it is easy to sort out when to use them.

Two is the number. In academic writing it is better to use the written form than to write the numeral '2'. There is more on using numbers in formal writing here.

When I looked in the tin, there were only two biscuits left.

Tim has only got two friends: Colin and Donald.

Two cars passed the building shortly before the explosion.

We were stopped by two angry-looking policemen.

Too is used with adverbs and adjectives in sentences like these:

English grammar is far too complicated for me.

I'm not buying this car; it is far too expensive.

The French speak too quickly for me to understand them completely.

The match was none too exciting until the final few minutes.

To is the most common of these three words. It has several different uses.

It is used with verbs in their infinitive form.

I think it is going to rain today.

Paul and Steve both had ambitions to become professional bowls players.

When I win the lottery, I would like to spend a year travelling the world.

There is no need to shout.

Remember that you should not put anything in between the 'to' and the rest of the verb infinitive. This is known as a split infinitive.

'To' is also used in the sense of 'towards'.

I walk to school every day.

Next month I am travelling to India and then to Thailand.

'Get to the back of the queue!'

'Are you going to the shops later on today?'

Test your understanding of the uses of to/two/too with this exercise.