Wednesday, September 8, 2010

"To" vs. "Too"

I noticed an error in the second paragraph of the post "Factual queries". I've added a link that explains clearly the difference between "too", the adverb and "to", the preposition.

Here is the original post:

"I assume the copyeditor shouldn't spend to much time looking for factual errors. On the other hand, our editor sometimes recognizes errors of fact in my newsletter, for which I am very grateful!"

I was not familiar with "to" as an anaphor, so I've included that information.

To is an anaphor. Sorry! Anaphor is not commonly taught, but it’s an important use of to and one that’s often confused with too, because it can come at the end of a sentence. An anaphor is simply a word that stands in for another word or group of words.There is one type of anaphor that you’ve probably heard of: pronoun. A pronoun stands in for a noun or noun phrase. Well, pronoun is a member of the anaphor group. Yes, group: there are other words that can act as anaphors, and the particle to is one of them.

Here’s how it works:

First a phrase beginning with an infinitive appears, say:to get up early and catch the bus to the fish market

Then, there’s a reference back to it in which to stands for the entire phrase so it doesn’t all have to be repeated. In these cases, to usually ends the sentence.

Gillian plans to get up early and catch the bus to the fish market, but I certainly don’t plan to.

THIS IS NOT A DANGLING PREPOSITION! It can’t be, because it’s not a prepositional use of to!

But, because the to comes at the end of the sentence, where we are used to seeing too meaning “in addition,” we may unthinkingly substitute one for the other.


Pat said...

Wonderful post, Cindy; thank you!

Tisha said...

Thank you, Cindy - this was interesting. I obviously need to take a copyediting class!