When Should You Use Too Many vs. To Many?

Let’s face it: English leaves plenty of opportunities to mix up words and spellings. One great example is deciding between using “too many” or “to many.” They both sound the same and look the same except for one little letter – how can you tell which one is the right choice? Never fear – this article will tell you everything you need to know about too many and to many!  

To Many vs. Too Many: What’s the Difference?  

Are you trying to say that there is an excess of something? If so, your only choice is to use “too many.” This means that something is disproportionate, excessive, overdone, exhausting – in a phrase, it’s more than you wanted or more than you can handle. “Too” becomes an adverb that places stress upon and modifies “many.” The only correct choice in this instance is to use “too” – never “to.” Here are some examples of how you might use too many: 

  • There are way too many commas in this sentence; you’ll need to delete some. 
  • I have too many clothes, so I’m going to donate some to goodwill. 
  • Too many children are going to bed hungry in this country. 
  • I picked too many apples. Do you want to take some home with you? 

Using “too” as a way to modify many is a quick and easy way to put emphasis on an amount and can be used in casual or professional scenarios. None of the examples above would work if you used “to many.” 

How to Use “To Many”

You can only use “to many” as a preposition. Most writers use “to many” to introduce a common thought, opinion, or expression. “To many” could also help demonstrate that an action or thing applies directly toward someone. While “to many” is not commonly used, it’s still a helpful phrase to keep handy. Here are some ways that you might want to use “to many.”

  • It’s clear to many of the group that things need to change.
  • She has expressed her opinion to many of us; it’s the same old story, time and again.
  • To many students, pop quizzes cause immediate panic.
  • Flooding has happened to many lawns across the neighborhood. It might be time for the city to revisit drainage patterns. 
  • That type of confrontation has happened to many of my co-workers; our boss can be really tough to deal with when he is angry.

How to Use “Too Many”

Knowing when to use “to many” or “too many” can be tough. But if you can remember that “too many” puts a stress on “many,” you’ll be able to easily determine which one is correct. Don’t forget that the only correct way to emphasize “many” is to use “too many.” This makes “too” an adverb, and it functions as a way to communicate a disproportionate or overdone amount of things. 

Here are some ways to use “too many” in a sentence. 

  • Nine cats are too many cats; how can you even afford the litter and food?
  • I have way too many unread emails in my inbox to be able to leave the office by 5 pm today. 
  • There are too many options for Chinese takeout in my area. It’s impossible to decide!
  • Can you help me fold the laundry? There are too many socks to match and I’ll never get done before dinner.
  • I know that we needed the rain, but I wish it wouldn’t have rained for so long. Now,there are too many weeds in the garden bed now!

An Easy Tip to Remember Which One to Use 

If you’re worried about being able to differentiate between “too many” and “to many,” here’s an easy way to tell them apart. “Too many” is used when you are referring to an excessive amount of something, and you can use the spelling to remember! “Too many” has an extra “O” in the spelling, and that extra “O” is just one “O” too many. Use this spelling tip to easily remember which phrase you should use! And if you aren’t referring to an excessive amount of something (double “O”), then you want to use “to” (single “O”).

  

Quiz

Here is a little tongue-twisting quiz to test yourself:

For too/to many years, it seemed to/too many of us that things are just getting worst.  The streets were getting dirtier, the shops would close one after another and to/too many of the town’s habitants, there were just to/too many issues to ignore the ever-declining state of Morganstown.  There were to/too many potholes, to/too many homeless folks coming up to/too to/too many people, to/too many robberies happening to/too to/too many homes. To/too many of us felt this way, and to/too many of us, moving has become a viable option.

The answers:

For too many years, it seemed to many of us that things are just getting worst.  The streets were getting dirtier, the shops would close one after another and to many of the town’s habitants, there were just too many issues to ignore the ever-declining state of Morganstown. There were too many potholes, too many homeless folks coming up to too many people, too many robberies happening to too many homes. Too many of us felt this way, and to many of us, moving has become a viable option.

 

The Takeaway

If you want to modify “many” and say that you have an excessive amount of something, you’ll want to use “too” as an adverb and create “too many.” You will not be able to use “to many” in this instance. The only time that “to many” works is when it is used as a preposition to show an opinion, expression, thought, or that something is happening to many people.

Related article: To vs. Too, Referring To or Too….Which Is Correct?

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