Difference between Too and Very

Key difference: ‘Too’ and ‘very’ are terms that are used to strengthen other words. ‘Very,’ can be used as an intensifier to make verbs, adjectives and some nouns stronger. Furthermore, the use of ‘very’ in a sentence generally indicates a positive implication. ‘Too’, on the other hand, has two main distinct definitions. The first is that it is used similarly to ‘very’. However, as ‘very’ generally has a positive implication; ‘too’ has a generally negative implication. Additionally, the second use of ‘too’ is similar to the word, ‘also’. It tends to add to something that has been stated previously, either by the speaker or someone else.

‘Too’ and ‘very’ are terms that are used to strengthen other words. Both are mainly used as adverbs, which are words that to modify verbs or clauses, e.g. run ‘fast’, drive ‘slowly’, ‘much more’ electrifying, ‘very’ demanding, ‘too’ hot, etc.

‘Very,’ can be used as an intensifier to make verbs, adjectives and some nouns stronger. For example: “I was very happy to help him out.” In this instance, not only was I happy, I was more than happy. Hence, ‘very’ increases the intensity of the noun, in this case ‘happiness’.

Dictionary.com defines ‘very’ as:

  • In a high degree; extremely; exceedingly: A giant is very tall.
  • (Used as an intensive emphasizing superlatives or stressing identity or oppositeness): the Very best thing; in the very same place as before.
  • Precise; particular: That is the very item we want.
  • Mere: The very thought of it is distressing.
  • Sheer; utter: He wept from the very joy of knowing he was safe.
  • Actual: He was caught in the very act of stealing.
  • Being such in the true or fullest sense of the term; extreme: the very heart of the matter.
  • True; genuine; worthy of being called such: the very God; a very fool.

As ‘very’ intensifies the strength of a word, sometimes this level of intensity is not good enough, in such cases, ‘very’ can be combined with other adverbs and adjectives to further increase the intensity of the verb. For example: “I was very much happy to help him out.” This implies that I was even more than just very happy to help him out.

Furthermore, the use of ‘very’ in a sentence generally indicates a positive implication. It can also be used negatively; however this is less common than the positive implication. For example: “I studied very hard for the test.” This is positive, because it shows the hard effort. “I failed the test. This is bad. This is very bad.” This has a negative implication. But mainly because a negative word ‘bad’ follows the use of ‘very’. The word ‘very’ itself, however does not have a negative implication.

Examples:

  • She was very tired at the end of the day.
  • Mary is very tall for her age.
  • Thomas is very smart indeed.
  • She demanded that he return her things this very instance.
  • I had hoped to become very successful.
  • He aimed to be at the very top of his class.
  • Harry has climbed to the very top of Mount Everest.
  • She wasn’t being very truthful when I asked her about it.
  • I love you very much.

‘Too’, on the other hand, has two main distinct definitions. The first is that it is used similarly to ‘very’. However, as ‘very’ generally has a positive implication; ‘too’ has a generally negative implication. For example: “The tea is very hot.” This implies that the tea is really hot, so one should be careful while handling it. “The tea is too hot.” This implies that the tea is so hot that it might be near impossible to handle.

Additionally, the second use of ‘too’ is similar to the word, ‘also’. It tends to add to something that has been stated previously, either by the speaker or someone else. For example: ‘I just bought a car. It came with accessories too.” Or “You have a car? I just bought a car too.”

Dictionary.com defines ‘too’ as:

  • In addition; also; furthermore; moreover: young, clever, and rich too.
  • To an excessive extent or degree; beyond what is desirable, fitting, or right: too sick to travel.
  • More, as specified, than should be: too near the fire.
  • (Used as an affirmative to contradict a negative statement): I am too!
  • Extremely; very: She wasn't too pleased with his behavior.

Examples:

  • You are going on a holiday? Me too!
  • I am young and hip too.
  • Apples are red, roses too.
  • The pot is too hot.
  • The ice-cream is too cold.
  • I am too tired to work.
  • It is raining too hard to go outside.
  • The ground is too slippery to walk on.
  • The light is too bright.
  • I am too comfortable to move.
  • I love you, too.

Image Courtesy: tumblr.com, thecoolspot.gov

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