To (the Preposition)

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The Quick Answer
"To" is used in expressions like "to the park," "to the postman," and "agree to a proposal." (The word "to" in these examples is a preposition.)

"To" As a Preposition

There is sometimes confusion over the words "to" and "too." The word "to" has two uses. The one covered on this page is its use as a preposition.

All the uses of "too" and "to" are shown in the lesson the difference between "to" and "too.

Using "to" as a preposition is extremely common. Using "too" as a preposition is serious grammar mistake.
What Is a Preposition?

The word "preposition" means positioned before. A preposition sits typically before a word to show that word's relationship to another nearby word. For example:
  • Give the bone to the dog.
  • (Here, the preposition "to" tells us the relationship between "give" and "dog.")
  • He is a boy from the ghetto.
  • (Here, the preposition "from" tells us the relationship between "ghetto" and "boy.")
The following are also prepositions: in, on, at, around, above, near, underneath, alongside, of, and for.

Read more about prepositions.

Examples of "To" as a Preposition

  • Alan gave the box to me.
  • ("To" shows the relationship between the words "gave," "box," and "me.")
  • Please return the slips to the secretary.
Here is a real-life example:
  • I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book. (Comedian Groucho Marx)
The next two examples are mistakes. ("Too" cannot be used as a preposition.)
  • They should send all of them too the moon.
  • Is that the diamond you gave too your cousin?

"To" Is Not Always a Preposition

The word "to" is also used as the sign of the infinitive. This means it appears before a verb to show the verb is in its basic form. For example:
  • I want to run.
  • It is important to think.
  • (In these examples, the word "to" is not a preposition.)
Here is a real-life example:
  • I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. (Groucho Marx)
  • (Here, "to" is not a preposition.)
Look at this example:
  • Next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you. (Groucho Marx)
  • (Here, the first "to" marks an infinitive verb, but the second one is a preposition.)
Read more about "to" as the sign of the infinitive.

Summary of "To" and "Too"

This infographic summarizes the different uses of "to" and "too":

to or too?
Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from a larger exercise, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

What are prepositions? To (infinitive verb) and too To and too (meaning as well) To and too (meaning in excess)