How can you distinguish between ‘two’, ‘to’, or ‘too’?

Apart from the context (which is the biggest clue), there is slight, but detectable difference in length:

  • to is the shortest. If one were to illustrate it graphically, the phrase To be, or not to be, the word to would be the hyphens:

    —, – /

  • two is noticeably longer. Thus, the sentence
    Each state is entitled to two senators looks like this:

    — — – √\ – — /\_

  • too is as long as two, and essentially sounds the same—but appears either at the end of a sentence, e.g.:
    Itsy, and Bitsy, and Ira, too
    :

     /`, – /`, – /`,

    or between two noticeable pauses, e.g.:
    I, too, believe that:

    ˆ, , √ –

In addition, there is a noticeable trend (particularly in British English) to pronounce the word to as /tuh/—while two and too are always /tu/.

*

(Originally written in reply to a question at Quora.com)

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “How can you distinguish between ‘two’, ‘to’, or ‘too’?

  1. Pingback: How can you distinguish between ‘two’, ‘to’, or ‘too’? by יונתן אור-סתיו | Jonathan Orr-Stav – Notes by Autumn Light | Talmidimblogging

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.