A lot or a lot: what's the difference? - The word counter (2023)

What's the difference betweentojto?

If you spend enough time browsing social media, chances are you'll come across the incorrect use of phrases like "to"y"to” (yes, it is very common).

One of the main reasons why people with "to"y"tois that the phrases sound exactly the same (homophones).to a lot of contains the adverbto," Wetter to" begins with "a“ (a preposition and an infinitive marker).

Both sentences also contain "a lot of,''a word we use as an adverb, determiner, pronoun and more to describe it'a large or large amountOf something (This should ring a "bell".amount against number).

Together both sentences sound like "two a lot' (another common mistake), but in the end they have different meanings and uses:

  • to' is an actual expression in English that means 'excessive" Ö "exaggerated.“
  • to" is aOrthographyError or part of an accidental clause.

Correct examples:

  • "They have hadto a lot ofdrink." (adverbial phrase)
  • "They drinkto a lot of.” (Adjective Phrase)
  • “The turning point has not risentofor the Texas team. (random set)

Wrong examples:

  • "They have hada a lot ofDrink."
  • "They drinka a lot of.“
  • "The projectnot ascendedtoA lot for the Texas team."

what doestocommon?

to' is an adverbial expression meaning'excessively', but it's also an adjective phrase that describes something like'exaggerated' (either'unbearable'Ör'exciting').

Examples of sentences:

  • "But it istoAsk Davis to sort things out until James gets back? —Los Angeles Times
  • "With reference totospeaking, teachers might welcome an impeccable reason to tell students to remain silent in class.” —The economist
  • "For some,thethe degree of enthusiasm can betodrive, but for Graham, that's all part of becoming a supermodel..." -Moda
  • “Policymakers have put a lot of emphasis on that when inflation goes upto, they have the ability to control it.” —Vox
  • “Moms and dads dress their little kids in designer Nike hoodies and are Instagram-ready, but is that so?too much fashion, too early?" -The Wall Street Journal

what doestocommon?

to“ is not a sentence. It's a typo of "to' or an appropriate pairing in a clause.

Examples of sentences:

  • “In Houston, Mr. Kasin improved his Boston time by approximately 18 minutes, an improvement due totomore than a pair of shoes.” —Los New York Times
  • “All of this can get expensive, but the cost of repairs after the fact can add up.tomore." -Myrtle Beach Sun News

how to use"toagainst"toIn one sentence?

A lot or a lot: what's the difference? - The word counter (1)

Yes"to"contains the word"a lot of', you must describe or refer to auncountable noun(also known as "Masse Substantive" Ö "uncountable nouns“).

Wait, what are uncount nouns?

Uncountable nounsare singular nouns with uncountable sets, such as:

  • Agua
  • Sopa
  • Sal
  • snow

Examples of sentences:

  • "You don't want to drink too muchagua.“
  • "We madeto soap.“
  • "Do not addto Salto the crowd."
  • "Heutosnow inDriveway.“

Aside from referring to non-counting nouns (like the direct object), we can "a lot ofas determiner,Pronoun, or adverb before singular pronouns and prepositions. Let's see how this strain compares to examples with "to"y"to.“

Example sentences for "to

  • “Be careful not to get the plants dirtyto sunlight.“
  • “Everyone knows you can have itoverdressed.“
  • "It istoto ask everyone to get along for an hour?
  • "Everyone wants to be known for doing something great, but is it?to?”

Example sentences for "to

  • “We open the placeto successand friends."(Noun)
  • “The Twitter online community has broughtto hostilityamong the locals.”(Noun)
  • “The newsletter plans to speaktoof thethe communityinjustices."(adj.)
  • “This rare plant is nativetovonCentral America.“(adj.)
  • “Obviously my draft hasn't stepped upto.“(Pronoun)

Dealing with countable nouns? Use "too many" Ö "too many

count nounsÖ "countable nouns” are singular or plural nouns that refer to a number or set ofseparableThings. Common examples of countable nouns are:

  • banana/bananas
  • vegetables vegetables
  • Cookies/Cookies
  • plant/plants

As we now know, we can't go together."to" Ö "to' with countable nouns. However, we can replace these sentences with “too many" Ö "too many.” Other than the worda lot of“, „Lots”can describe everyone”large number, magnitude, or degree' Of something.

Examples of sentences:

  • "I think I atetoo manybananas."
  • "Existtoo manyVegetables in this shepherd's pie."
  • That's what happens when you eattoo manyCookies."
  • "You can never have thattoo manyPlant."

Of course, some nouns are countable.jcountless, and a simple example is the words "chocolate" and "chocolate". When we use the noun "chocolate" to describe individual pieces of chocolate, it is a countable noun. But when we use the noun to describe "chocolate" in general (pieces without a count), it's a noun without a count.

To illustrate, let's compare some right and wrong examples:

Correct:"Existto LotsChocolate chips to choose from.”

Not correct:"Existto a lot ofChocolate chips to choose from.”

Correct:"Existtoo manyChocolates to choose from.”

Not correct:"ExisttoChocolates to choose from.”

When "chocolate" or "chocolate" represent singular or plural nouns, they are countable. Therefore we can use the word "Lots.“

Correct:"I hope the cake doesn't have ittoChocolate."

Not correct:"I hope the cake doesn't have ittoChocolates."

Not correct:"I hope the cake doesn't have ittoo manyChocolate."

The only time we used the word "chocolate" with "a lot of' is when it functions as an uncountable noun.

How to tell the difference betweento a lot ofjto?

A simple way to determine if you are usingtoÖtois correct, each sentence by "a lot of“, „a lot of“, „exaggerated," Ö "excessive.“

Both "a lot of"y"a lot of" describe 'a large number or quantity of something', so they're an easy substitute for"to"(or"too many").

The adverb "excessive' and the adjective 'excessive' are synonymous with 'to,So if all else fails, it's worth checking again to see if the adverb or adjective works instead. Let's practice with the following exercise:

Original sentence:I hope I haven't eaten anythingtoChocolate."

  1. I hope I haven't eaten anythinga lot ofChocolate."(To the right)
  2. I hope I haven't eaten anythinga lot ofChocolate."(To the right)
  3. I hope I haven't eaten anythingexcessiveChocolate."(not correct)
  4. I hope I haven't eaten anythingexaggeratedChocolate."(To the right)

Since three out of four substitutions are verified, we can say that we have the correct form of "to' for this sentence. Let's try a less obvious example.

Original sentence: “Students can buy bitcoin thankstolower markets.

  1. “Students can buy bitcoin thanksa lot oflower markets.(not correct)
  2. “Students can buy bitcoin thanksa lot oflower markets.(not correct)
  3. “Students can buy bitcoin thanksexcessivelower markets.(not correct)
  4. “Students can buy bitcoin thanksexaggeratedlower markets.(not correct)

If none of the substitutes seem to work, you are most likely using the correct form of "a"Fraud"a lot of." But for the record, if we had the preposition "a' in the above sentences, most of them would have been grammatically correct (though horribly written).

Further reading fortoagainstto

If you enjoyed learning the difference between "to"y"to', refer to the following lessonsthe word counter(Guaranteed improved vocabulary).

  • Is it ok or is it ok?
  • ¿„Beck and call“ o „wink call“?
  • Can't vs. can't?
  • Accidental or random?
  • against in one?

Test yourself!

You don't have to be a native speaker to master"to"against"to.” See how much you've learned with a quick grammar test.

  1. True or False: Does "too much" have a similar meaning to "too much"?
    a. RIGHT
  2. To verify correct usage, we can replace “too much” with ___________.
    a. exaggerated
    b. excessively (adv)
    C. Plenty (adv phrase)
    i.e. All previous
  3. Which of the following words cannot be paired with the word "many"?
    a. chocolates
    b. Personal experience
    C Cheese
    d. clarification
  4. Which of the following words cannot be paired with the word "many"?
    a. transcripts
    b. device
    C. Health
    i.e. chocolate
  5. “Are Facebook and Google heavily invading your privacy ___________?”
    a. A
    b. to
    c. a lot of
    i.e. two
  6. "We shouldn't throw away ___________ products."
    a. too many
    b. too many
    c.too much
    d. To
  7. "____________ of the best answers came from Tony."
    a. viel
    b. A lot of
    C. Many
    i.e. By C


  1. B
  2. D
  3. A
  4. B
  5. B
  6. C
  7. D


  1. Improving ventilation helps stop SARS-CoV-2.“The economist, economist.com, 29. May 2021.
  2. Gallagher, J.“Why parents dress their kids like sneaker fans.“The Wall Street Journal, wsj.com, 30. April 2020.
  3. Karacostas, C.“Hurricane season begins on June 1st. Here's what South Carolinaians should do to prepare.“Myrtle Beach Sun News, myrtebeachonline.com, 31. May 2021.
  4. Lots.” Cambridge Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 2021.
  5. A lot of.“The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5.ª Aufl., Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2021.
  6. A lot of.“Macmillan dictionary, Macmillan Education Limited, 2021.
  7. A lot of.“The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary,Merriam-Webster Inc., 2021.
  8. Okwodu, J.“Non-stop supermodel! A weekend with Ashley Graham.“Moda, vogue.com, 17. June 2016.
  9. Quealy, K. and J. Katz. "Nike Says Its $250 Running Shoes Will Make You Run Much Faster. What if that's really true?Los New York Times, nytimes.com, July 18, 2018.
  10. Stewart, E.“How much you should and shouldn't worry about inflation.“Vox, vox.com, 12. May 2021.
  11. to.“Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2021.
  12. overdressed.“Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2021.
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