Homophones: To, Too, & Two

two  too and to

To is a word that can actually be used as two different parts of speech. As you’ll notice, it is one of the most used connecting words in the English language.

First, it can be used as a particle, part of an infinitive verb (to + root verb). Infinitive verbs are often used after another verb.

  • I want to play that song again!

  • We love to sing along with that Bob Marley song.

To can also be used as a preposition. As this part of speech, to is often used to describe directional movement (both literal, or physical and real, and figurative, or as an idea or metaphor).

  • Please pass the cayenne pepper to your brother.

  • After years of war, Liberia is finally returning to peace.too to two

As a preposition, to can also be used to describe moving towards something, and towards a certain time.

  • I will come to your house on Saturday morning.

  • It’s ten minutes to 9 (8:50).

Too is an adverb.

It is used to describe an excess, when there is more than enough of something.

  • There is too much food for us to eat! Let’s invite the neighbors to share with us!

  • It’s never too cold for me to eat coconut milk ice cream.

In addition, too is used to mean ‘as well’ or ‘also’.

  • Make sure to leave some chicken for me. You ate some, and I want some, too.

  • She also knows my wife. They are friends, too.

Two is the spelling of the number 2.

  • I don’t need two cars! One is enough.

  • Two more minutes of exercise, and then I will be done!

Like we say in English, it’s not where you’re from; it’s where you’re going to! Let’s put your skills to the test!

I want _______ learn how ________  play the accordion.

  1. to, two

  2. two, too

  3. to, to

Barcelona is a successful soccer team because their players pass the ball so well ________ Lionel Messi.

  1. too

  2. to

  3. two

She has ______  brothers, and ________ sisters, _________!

  1. two, two, too

  2. to, two, two

  3. two, two,  to

Thanks for taking the time to read this ETO blog! What are you going to do next? Are you interested to learn more English? Why don’t you sign up for a free lesson? You won’t have to pay until lesson number two! You will be glad that you did it, too.


By Joseph

ETO American English teacher



ESL Learning: 3 Keys to Fluency

During my time teaching in Korea, I was surprised to find that despite many years of studying English, students often still struggled to have basic conversation.

Why would that be? I was working with Korean students who were clearly brilliant and hard working, and they sometimes knew more English vocabulary than the average American. They could often complete complex grammar exercises that many Americans or Canadians, even those with a four year university degree, could not figure out.

Well, first of all, you can study grammar and vocabulary until the cows come home (a phrase in English that means for a very, very long time), but if you do not get in the habit of speaking English, then you will never feel good about speaking.

That is why conversation has recently become such an important part of English education in Korea. Topics such as debate and speech are a regular part of the English academy classes nowadays. The new English testing program for Koreans focuses on conversation and writing.


Did you know that scientists have found that in order to communicate clearly in a language, only 400-500 words are needed? The key is not to study more vocabulary, it is to use the vocabulary in conversation. The more you talk, the more you will find that idioms, or sayings using these 400-500 words to create new meaning, are the key to fluency.

And that leads us to the second point: don’t let perfectionism stop you from speaking English. Perfectionism is being unwilling to make mistakes. But it is usually by making mistakes that we learn. Most people do not learn to walk without falling many times first.

In addition, riding a bicycle is difficult at first, and it is likely that when you learned to ride a bike, you probably fell off several times!

Working with an ETO teacher will allow you to make mistakes (in private and online) while talking about topics that are interesting to you. This is the third key: improve your English while talking about things that you are most interested in.  Our teachers will help you correct your mistakes in a friendly and supportive way, and introduce you to new idioms that will help you to be more fluent.


We look forward to providing great service to you, and helping you to move past the perfectionism that might have kept you from speaking English with confidence in the past!

Sign up for a free class with ETO today! In the meantime, please stay subscribed to our FacebookYouTube & Twitter pages!!

By Joseph

ETO American English teacher

ESL Learning: Can vs. Could

Modal verbsNext up in our series on modal verbs are can and could.

Let’s start with can. Remember that can + not = cannot or can’t.

Can is used to express ability (or inability) in the present tense.

  • We can practice our English online with ETO.

  • They can’t feel confident speaking English until they practice.

Can is used to make informal* requests for the present and future.

  • Honey, can you come here, please? I need some help with preparing dinner.

  • Can you come to my soccer game on the 5th of March?

Can is used to ask informally (in an informal way) for permission, and to give (or refuse) permission informally.

  • Mom, can I go outside when I finish my homework?

  • No, you can’t. First, I need to practice my English conversation with you for five minutes.

  • After that, you can go.

Informal speech is usually made to close family or friends.

Honey is a nickname (a special name) that many English speaking people use to refer to their romantic partners and/or children.

Soccer is used to describe football in the United States and Canada, as American and Canadian football were more popular in these countries first.

Modal verbs2

Now, on to could.

Could is used to express ability in the past tense.

  • You should have seen your father when he was at university! He was so hungry that he could eat a whole pizza by himself!

  • He could understand English, but he couldn’t speak well until he practiced his conversation.

Could is used to make formal requests.

  • Could you please pass the sea salt?

  • I’m running late. Could you meet me at 8 pm instead of 7:30?

Please note that we can also use would in place of could in these examples. You can see our blog on Will vs. Would for more information.

Could is used to formally (in a formal way) ask for permission

  • Could I take your coat?

  • I noticed that you are getting ready to play basketball. Could I play with you guys?

We can also use may to replace could for these examples, and to give permission formally, we will always use may. For example, we would answer the first question formally by saying, “Yes, you may.”

For more details, visit our blog on May vs. Might

Formal speech is made to elders, people we do not know very well, and when we want to show extra respect.

Running late is a phrase that means someone is behind schedule, or taking longer than expected.

Take your coat is a phrase that means to put your coat in a special place when you come inside.

Finally, could is also used to describe a situation when we have the ability to do something, but we choose not to do it.

  • I could play basketball this evening, but I think that I will do yoga instead.

  • I could take a nap, but I’d rather go get some exercise.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read our blog! At ETO, we know that you can become fluent in English with the help of our teachers! Could you send us an email to let us know what topics you want us to talk about next in our blog? Or perhaps you can sign up for a free class right now!

Home page english woman

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By Joseph

ETO American English teacher

Image credit: Ondapix.com


War & Peace Idioms


In 1969, Edwin Starr sang a song called War for Motown Records. It became a big hit*, popular in the United States and many parts of the world, and its chorus is:

*A big hit is a song that is very popular in a country or in the world.

War! What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!

Today, many people around the world agree with this song. But while we are finally starting to figure out how to live peacefully with each other on this planet, we still have to learn the idioms around war. Just for fun, though, I’ve included one about peace.

All is fair in love and war

This idiom is used to explain that in war and in romantic relationships, many people used to think that tricking others was okay to do. Living in the age of the internet and the International Criminal Court, the idea that it is acceptable to lie during war or during relationships is quickly changing. In English, we call this new inability to lie to each other transparency.

Friendly fire

In English, we use friendly fire to describe when a person is shot accidentally (or on purpose) by a person from his own army or an allied force. This idiom is also used to describe soldiers who are accidentally killed by bombings, artillery fire, and/or explosions that came from one’s fellow soldiers or a friendly force. Of course, to those who are wounded or killed by friendly fire, it does not feel friendly at all!

Give peace a chance

This phrase became popular during the Peace movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and it suggests that we do our best to find a different way to create a solution, without violence or disrespect. John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded a song with the same name in 1969 that became very popular.


In conclusion, English is a language that was used during colonization and imperialism, a time during history in which the British and Americans took over huge parts of the planet. Back then, it was a language of war. But now, it has become a language of peace.

Today, most Americans and British people believe that war is not the answer to solving our problems. English is also a language that is now used to communicate and collaborate between people from Korea and Japan, Israel and Palestine, or France and Germany. The movement for peace, justice, and working together in the world is now being communicated in English.

Do you know any more War or Peace idioms to share? We invite you to leave your comments on this blog. We’d love to hear about it.

Would you like to create more peace, wealth, and success in your life? Sign up for a free class with ETO here. In the meantime, please stay subscribed to our Facebook, YouTube & Twitter pages!!

By Joseph

ETO American English teacher

Image credit (second): War_Peace by Davidmartindel