What’s the Difference between Very and Too?

Shana Goodwin, March 15, 2021

Photograph by Mor Shani

Both “very” and “too” are adverbs, so they come before adjectives that describe a noun.
Examples: The soup is very hot. The soup is too hot.

So what’s the difference? When should I use “very” and when should I use “too”?

“Very” is used to emphasize (give special attention to) the word that follows it. Example: The soup is very hot. (It is not just warm.)

“Too” is used before a word when there is more than what is wanted. Example: The soup is too hot. (Watch out! Don’t burn your tongue!)

More examples:

That table is very long. (Twelve people can sit around the table.)
That table is too long. (It won't fit in our dining room.)

This box is very heavy. (It is difficult to carry, but not impossible.)
This box is too heavy. (It is impossible for me to lift it off the ground.)

Image shows an old steamer trunk, illustrating an example of the difference between very and too.

Photograph courtesy of David Raynisley

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