Two Tacos to You, Too?
The problem is prevalent. Even native English speakers and writers have a problem knowing the differences of the simplest of words--to, too, and two.
Some of us are old enough to remember English teachers hammering the rules into our heads (figuratively-speaking). Others went to Catholic school and still have nightmares about their own version of Sister Claire using a ruler over their knuckles to drive the rules home.
Regardless of the experience, the result is the same:
WE shall NEVER forget the differences of these three words.
Because of our experiences, it is likely that, when we see these words used incorrectly, we will cringe. We may gasp, choke, or blurt out some inappropriate comment about you before considering the reasons behind the error. Thankfully, if we are reading, you are not within earshot of such disparaging comments.
We may come to our senses. When we realize that you are a non-native English speaker, we will forgive you the error, and may never even mention it. Sometimes, we will help you to understand the difference and teach you the correct usage, just as you would do for us in your native language.
This brings back memories of my going into a "carcineria" in the Hispanic section of my city, asking for "dos libros de carne asado." I asked for "two books of (beef) roast." I should have asked for "dos libras de carne asado" instead. To this day, I have to think of the Libra astrological symbol of the scales when I walk in to a Mexican meat market.
We must all take care to become better communicators of the English language, if this is the default language of the writing sites. Because it is written, these slight mistakes become blaring.
The two-to-too lesson is a simple lesson. But it must not simply be heard. It is also a visual one, if you are to remember it.
This can only be used as the number 2. It has no other meaning or purpose.
-- Two (2) tacos
-- Two hundred
-- Two minutes
-- Two o'clock
This has several purposes. It is a preposition, which can show direction or movement, or can link times describing a specific period of time. It may also be used as part of the infinitive form of a verb.
--I ride the bus to school.
--We moved from Los Angeles to Hong Kong.
--The hall for the wedding reception is reserved. The time: 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
--I want to spend my money.
This word is used when there is more than enough or necessary and is usually used with an adjective or adverb. It implies a message of "excess."
--I lost weight and now my clothes are too big.
--We cooked the chicken for too long and at too high a temperature, so now the meat is too dry.
--I wrote the article too quickly, resulting in too many errors.
It can also be used as meaning "in addition" or "also."
--Sarah enjoyed the movie, and I did too .
--They attended the conference in Miami too .
THE DIFFERENCES IN A SENTENCE
Each of these words can be used in the very same sentence. In the written word, we can easily see the difference to help us to understand the meaning of the word, if used correctly by the writer. When used incorrectly, it can be extremely confusing to the reader.
In the spoken word, we must listen for the context of how the word is used. When first learning to speak a language, without the understanding of the difference in spelling, there can be confusion in verbal understanding.
To illustrate, please read (visually only) each of these examples:
--I gave to pencils too my sister, and my brother wanted pencils two. (It was painful for me to even write that!)
--I gave two pencils to my sister, and my brother wanted pencils too.
Now read them each aloud.
When we communicate, if we want to be understood, we must learn how to do this more effectively or there may always be miscommunication.
If we are unwilling to learn, then we may find ourselves at the "biblioteca"(library) to buy the two pounds of meat to make tonight's tacos. And that might be too funny, unless you get the one of two librarians to help you, who does not have a sense of humor.
* * * * * * * * * *
A partial linguistics lesson:
Many people refer to these words (to, too and two) as "homonyms," words that spelled and pronounced the same, but have different meanings. (Example: My mother left the main highway when she turned left.)
Though to, too and two share the same sound in pronunciation, they are spelled differently and each have distinctive meaning. So, these words linguistically are called "homophones," meaning that they have the same sound and they are also "heterographs," meaning that they are written differently.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Sources: Parochial school education in the 1960s; linguistics classes taken at university in 2000-2001; and my own love of of etymology and reading the dictionary from the age of five.
Copyright © 2015 Coral Levang. Content many not be used without written permission.
Adapted from original written on January 17, 2014 and published on Bubblews, but removed by author.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Coins: 6834, $10.25, 51%
Coins earned Sept. 20th: 110
Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/tacos-mexican-carne-asada-food-245241/ by adoproducciones