Too…To vs. So…That

The structure too…to… is used to talk about undesirable excess. It has a negative meaning.

Study the following sentences.

  • He was very nervous. He couldn’t perform well on stage.
  • He was too nervous to perform well on stage.

We can also express the same idea using so…that…

  • He was so nervous that he couldn’t perform well on stage.

More examples are given below.

  • It was very hot. We didn’t go out.
  • It was too hot for us to go out. (Note the use of for us in this sentence. When the clauses have different sentences, we introduce the second subject with for.)
  • It was so hot that we didn’t go out.
  • The problem was very difficult. I couldn’t solve it.
  • The problem was too difficult for me to solve. (NOT The problem was too difficult for me to solve it.)
  • The problem was so difficult that I couldn’t solve it. (NOT The problem was so difficult that I couldn’t solve.)
  • The tea was very hot. I couldn’t drink it.
  • The tea was too hot for me to drink. (NOT The tea was too hot for me to drink it.)
  • The tea was so hot that I couldn’t drink it.
  • He earns very little. He cannot lead a comfortable life.
  • He earns too little to lead a comfortable life.
  • He earns so little that he cannot lead a comfortable life.
  • She is very clumsy. She cannot handle glassware properly.
  • She is too clumsy to handle glassware properly.
  • She is so clumsy that she cannot handle glassware properly.

Too….not to…

This structure is used when both sentences are in the affirmative.

Read the following sentences.

  • The dress is very bright. It will attract the attention of people.

We can express the same idea using too…not to…

  • The dress is too bright not to attract the attention of people.
  • The dress is so bright that it will certainly attract the attention of people.
  • The crowd is very big. We will have trouble maintaining discipline.
  • The crowd is too big for us not to have trouble maintaining discipline.
  • The crowd is so big that we will have trouble maintaining discipline.
  • The article is too long. The editor will cut it short.
  • The article is too long for the editor not to cut it short.
  • The article is so long that the editor will cut it short.
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Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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