‘SO’ and ‘Too’ are two separate terms that are used in the English language to refer to a great quantity. However, there are often confusions over their usage, especially when they are followed by the word ‘much’ e.g. ‘so much’ or ‘too much’ and ‘many’ e.g. ‘so many’ or ‘too many’.
So vs Too
The main difference between So and Too is that the former is used to refer to a quantity that is of ‘great degree’ but within the possible or prescribed limit. While the latter is used to refer to a quantity that is greater or higher than the prescribed or possible limit.
In English, the word ‘So’ is mainly used as an adverb, a conjunction or an adjective of quantity. As an adjective of quantity, it implies a ‘degree that is great’ e.g. She is so intelligent.
It is also used in comparisons to imply ‘same level’ e.g. She is not so intelligent as you thought her to be.
‘Too’ on the other hand, is used as an adverb or an adjective of quantity. As an adjective of quantity, it implies ‘a degree that is higher than possible or permissible, e.g. He eats too much.
Comparison Table Between So and Too (in Tabular Form)
|Parameter of Comparison||So||Too|
|Usage in Grammar||As an adverb, a conjunction or an adjective of quantity.||An adverb or an adjective of quantity.|
|As an adjective of quantity||It means ‘of great degree’ or ‘of the same level’ when used in comparison.||It means ‘of higher degree than possible or permissible’.|
|Other meanings||1. Therefore, hence.|
2. In order that, With the aim or intention of.
|Also or in addition|
|Homophones||Sow||To and Two|
|Alternative Words||Very, Remarkably||Excessive, Overly|
When to Use So?
In a sentence, ‘So’ may be used as a conjunction or an adverb or an adjective of quantity. The word is of Germanic origin and is related to the word ‘Zo’ in Dutch.
As an adjective of quantity, it can be used in two ways:
- To indicate something that is of great extent (used to give emphasis). For example:
- She is so good at studies.
- He is so athletic.
- To imply something that is of the same degree (applied in comparisons). For example:
- She is not so innocent as you think her to be.
- He is not so good as you think him to be.
As a Conjunction, it is used in a variety of ways:
- To justify a reason or to introduce a consequence. For Example:
- I was feeling tired, so I went to sleep.
- I was not talking to her, so she went home.
- With the intention or aim of. e.g., He always eats healthy so that he does not fall sick.
- To launch a question. E.g. So, What next?
- To begin a concluding statement. E.g. so, that is that.
It can also be used as an adverb to imply something that has already been mentioned. For example:
- Similarly, e.g. she has changed a lot and so have I.
- To show concurrence with a feeling or an opinion (used with an exclamatory mark) e.g. X: I have learnt how to sing. Y: So you have!
- As a substitute for ‘that is the case’ e.g. If so, we must complete your work by tomorrow.
While using ‘So’ in a sentence, two things must be kept in mind:
- ‘So’ cannot be used before an adjective+ attributive adjective. In its place, ‘Such’ should be used. For example: She sent me such lovely gifts for my birthday. And not She sent me so lovely gifts for my birthday.
- It is ‘Such’ that should be used to modify noun phrases and not ‘So’. For example:
She is such a lovely lady. And not She is so a lovely lady.
When to Use Too?
In sentence construction, ‘Too’ can be used as an adverb or an adjective of quantity.The term is of English origin and is the stressed version of the word ‘To’. In its present form, it is being used since the sixteenth century.
As an adjective of quantity, it implies a degree that is higher than the permissible or possible limit. In other words, it indicates a quantity that is ‘more than enough’. For example:
- She is too good.
- He is too reckless.
As an adverb, it can be used in two ways:
- At the end of a sentence, to imply something that is in addition. For example:
- I love sweets too.
- She would love to come too.
- To indicate something certain. Mostly used to stress a positive answer to a negative statement, e.g. I am not going to the party. You are too!
While using ‘Too’ in a sentence it is important to remember that although it can be used before an adjective or an adverb, e.g. I can’t drink the coffee. It’s too hot. However, it cannot be used to givestress on an adjective or an adverb. For example:
He is too handsome.– This usage is wrong.
It should be He is very handsome. (Here, ‘very’ should be used to stress on ‘handsome’.)
Main Differences Between So and Too
- In sentence construction, both ‘So’ and ‘Too’ are used as an adverb or an adjective of quantity. But ‘So’ is also used a conjunction but ‘Too’ is not.
- The main difference between ‘So’ and ‘Too’ is that as adjectives of quantity, the former refers to a degree that is great but not higher than the permissible or possible limit. While the latter indicates a degree that higher or greater than the possible or permissible limit.
- ‘So’ is also used to justify a reason or introduce a decision or result e.g. ‘therefore’, ‘that is why’, etc. While ‘Too’ is used to imply something that is in addition e.g. also, as well, etc.
- In a sentence, both ‘Too’ and ‘So’ are often followed by an adjective or an adverb. However, ‘So’ is also used as a substitute for adverb or adjective but ‘Too’ is not.
- Some alternative words for ‘So’ are ‘Very’ and ‘Remarkably’. While for ‘Too’, it is excessive, overly and unduly.
‘So’ and ‘too’ are some common adjectives in English that are used to refer to a quantity. But they are often wrongly used interchangeably as there are confusions over their actual meaning when used to describe a quantity.
Therefore, it is important to remember that ‘So’ is used to refer to a quantity that is great but not higher than a prescribed or possible limit. While ‘Too’ is used to imply a quantity that is more or greater or higher than a prescribed or possible limit.
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