comma before 'too' [adverb, end position]: to university there, too.

PatrickK1

Senior Member
USA English
Hi, guys,

Could someone clarify the rules for placing a comma before the word "too" at the end of a clause?

Are you always supposed to do it, can it affect the meaning, or is it just a stylistic choice?
 
  • PatrickK1

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I'm just curious if there's a general rule... Sometimes at the end of a sentence "too" is preceded by a comma, and sometimes it isn't.

    For instance, would there be any difference between these two sentences:
    "I went to university there, too."
    "I went to university there too."

    I have a hunch that it signals the difference between "I went there just like you," and "I went there in addition to another university." Thoughts?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    At first, I can't see any difference in meaning between these two sentences, and I don't know whether I'd put the comma there or not.

    Patrick's suggested difference is appealing, but I think that difference would be clear from context, regardless of punctuation.
     

    Spira

    Banned
    UK English
    Years and years ago I think we learned at school that the comma was compulsory before TOO, but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case in real life.
    The two examples suggested by Patrick obviously mean two different things, but I'm not sure it's the comma that makes the difference.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    The Chicago Manual of Style Q & A column (of which I am inordinately fond) agrees that asking a comma to make a difference of meaning in a sentence like the one discussed is asking too much of a comma. (Their example is different, but the issue raised is the same.)

    Their advice:
    Use commas with too only when you want to emphasize an abrupt change of thought:
    He didn’t know at first what hit him, but then, too, he hadn’t ever walked in a field strewn with garden rakes.
    In most other cases, commas with this short adverb are unnecessary (an exception being sentences that begin with too—in the sense of also—a construction some writers would avoid as being too awkward).​
     

    Harry Batt

    Senior Member
    USA English
    MY solution to this question would require never using too when you mean also, especiallly at the end of a sentence where it dangles and sounds awkward.
     
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