Difference Between Too and Very

The main difference between too and very is that the word too connotes a negative sense while the word very does not connote a negative sense.

The words too and very are adverbs which are also known as submodifiers in a sentence. Both these adverbs imply a sense of higher degree. One can also use these two adverbs to give emphasis to a fact mentioned. However, too and very cannot be used interchangeably.

Key Areas Covered

1. What Does Too Mean
     – Meaning, Usage, Examples
2. What Does Very Mean
       – Meaning, Usage, Examples
3. Similarities Between Too and Very
    – Outline of Common Features
3. Difference Between Too and Very
     – Comparison of Differences

Key Terms

 English language, Grammar, Too, Very, Usage

Difference Between Too and Very - Comparison Summary

What Does Too Mean

Too acts as an adverb in English grammar which basically gives the meaning of ‘to a higher degree than is desirable, permissible, or possible; excessively.’ Therefore, in this sense, too bears a negative connotation.

Consider the given sentences:

She always said that she was too fat.

(too indicates a negative implication, where she feels depressed for being excessively fat)

The temperature was too hot for the plants to grow

(too implies the temperature is not suitable for the growth of the plants)

He was too harsh on his child

(too emphasizes that his harshness was excessive and therefore, had negative consequences )

The cake had too much icing on it.

(too indicates the icing was excessive and therefore, the speaker did not possibly enjoy the cake)

Main Difference - Too vs Very

Moreover, on some occasions, too can be used to convey the sense of ‘in addition’ or ‘also’

‘I love strawberry jam’ – Me too ( too indicates that other person also likes the same jam)

She worked the whole weekdays and on the weekend too (too indicates, in addition to the weekdays, she worked on the weekend also)

What Does Very Mean

Very means ‘to a higher degree’. Therefore, we can use this adverb to indicate a higher degree of something or to give emphasis to something. However, using very does not connote a negative implication like ‘too’.

Consider these example sentences:

She enjoyed the surprise birthday party very much. (very emphasizes that she enjoyed it a lot more than expected)

The acidity of these chemicals is very high when mixed with HCl. (very indicates a higher degree of acidity)

Difference Between Too and Very

Moreover, very as an adjective can convey the meaning of ‘exact or particular.’ For example,

He might be getting ready this very moment.

Those were her very words.

Similarity Between Too and Very

  • Both too and very are adverbs in English grammar, and both indicate a higher degree of the mentioned fact.

Difference Between Too and Very


Too refers to ‘a higher degree than is desirable or excessively’ while very refers to ‘a higher degree’.


The word too carries a negative implication whereas the word very does not carry a negative implication


Too is used as an adverb while very is used as an adverb as well as an adjective.


Many people tend to confuse too and very due to their similar nature. However, a fine line can be drawn to differentiate the two with regard to their proper usage. The main difference between too and very is that too implies a negative connotation while very does not.

Image Courtesy:

1. “We Think Too Much And Feel Too Little” by seaternity (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr
2. “729445” (CC0) via Pixabay

About the Author: Upen

Upen, BA (Honours) in Languages and Linguistics, has academic experiences and knowledge on international relations and politics. Her academic interests are English language, European and Oriental Languages, Internal Affairs and International Politics, and Psychology.

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