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Know Your Vocabulary: To Bad Or Too Bad

by samik ghoshal

Being gifted in a language is not at all a bad thing. In fact, if you ask me, not having a piece of proper knowledge is also not a bad thing. Especially if you are not a native speaker of a language. The phrase ‘too bad’ is a very common phrase that we all come across several times while having a casual conversation. Conversationalists use the phrase in several ways, and the meaning of the phrase largely depends upon the context in which it is being used.  But when you start writing the phrase, that is when the problems arise. Which spelling tp use? Is it too bad or to bad. Do not get too scared, as we are here to help you with your english speaking skills in our ‘Know Your Vocabulary’ edition. Without further ado, let us dive right in. 

Too Bad or To Bad — Which is Grammatically Correct?

Look at the phrasing from a close proximity and think which is the correct one. Is it too bad or to bad? If your answer is former or ‘too bad,’ then you are absolutely correct. However, if your answer is the latter or ‘to bad’, then this article is just for you. 

The reason why too bad is the right usage is because ‘too’ is an adverb, and it is used to describe or add value to the adjective ‘bad.’ Unlike the word, ‘too’ which is a preposition. And does not justify or add value to the adjective. 

Too Bad or To Bad

With the correct phrase identified. I think it is time that we look at the reason why it is the correct phrase so that you can navigate the nuanced aspects of the language and be better at it.

Why Is ‘Too Bad’ The Correct Phrase?

In order to truly understand the correct usage of any phrase, be it too bad or to bad. We really need to get to the very basics of phrasing so that we can truly understand how language works. However, it is not possible to go to the very basics of the language to help you understand the phrase. Therefore, assuming that your english proficiency is at an intermediary level, we will look at how the term performs or works. The very first stage of that understanding is to know what an adverb is and how it functions. 

What Is An Adverb?

In retrospect, adverbs are words that work as modifiers. They modify a word or add weightage to a verb, sentence, or even the whole conversation. Adverbs are used to show the manner in which things are done, the degree or to what extent, the place or when and where, and finally, time. Therefore the adverbs are really versatile and have the real capability to be dynamic and have a plethora of meanings and aspects related to them.

Usually, adverbs can be best identified by adding a ‘ly’ to the very end of the adjective. Like for example, ‘quick’ is an adjective, but ‘quickly’ is an adverb. This is not the only example, there is a whole range of adverbs that follow this rule. Some more popular examples of the term include ‘incredible’, which can turn into ‘incredibly.’ Subsequently, slow becomes slowly, and the list just goes on. 

But if you are looking to understand the phrasing, you need to understand the variations as well. Otherwise, you will have half a knowledge. Having half a knowledge is something that is more dangerous than no knowledge. We have already discussed the way in which there is a way to identify an adverb. However, it is not a thumb rule. There are certain exceptions that you need to know in order to understand the subjectivity of the language. Like for example, ‘too’ is an adverb, and so is ‘very’. Now if you follow the previously mentioned rule blindly, you will never know how to identify these words as adverbs. 

But if you keep in mind the exact function of an adverb, you will know that it is to add weightage to the adjective. So that is a marker that you can follow. Any word that adds weightage to your adjective is an adverb. So in that sense, ‘too’ is the adverb, and ‘bad’ is the adjective. 

End Note

So there you go, this was all that we had today for our too bad vs to bad debate. Both the words sound very similar to each other. Maybe this is why confusion arises for non-native english speakers, who are just getting into it slowly and surely. Next time if somebody comes up to you or you get stumped in order to decide whether it is to bad or too bad. Just remember that prepositions can never enhance or add more weightage to an adjective but an adverb and that the word ‘too’ is an adverb. Keeping this in mind will help you deal with the problem easily and in a more tactful manner.  


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