What is the Difference between "so + adj + to + verb" and "too + adj + to +verb"?

For example: He was too excited to answer the phone ||| He was so excited to answer the phone


He was so excited to answer the phone.

This simply means that "he" was very excited to answer the phone.

He was too excited to answer the phone.

This implies that "he" was more excited than is appropriate for the situation. Note that culturally this isn't necessarily a bad thing. For instance if "he" was expecting a call back from a job interview that went well, this would be okay.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Can we say that the "too" implies that he didn't (or couldn't) answer. (or answered with diffiluclty). but the "so" implies that he was very excited but not that much that he couldn't answer? – titansarus Mar 3 '17 at 14:55
  • It depends on context. Saying, for example, "too excited" can be taken to mean "very excited" (it's a sort of idiom). But in some contexts, it should be taken literally. If someone was "too nervous to answer to the phone", for instance, it may literally mean that the person couldn't answer the phone due to being too nervous. It's all about context. – Peyton B Mar 3 '17 at 15:02
  • I apologize if I'm not very clear, I'm struggling to describe the situation simply. Perhaps another answer will help you a bit more. – Peyton B Mar 3 '17 at 15:04

I have work to do

I have so much work to do

The "so" makes the verb/adjective stronger.

I have too much work to do

The "too" means more than needed, implies a negative meaning.


The salsa was too spicy to eat


The salsa was so spicy to eat

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.