Whenever she gets stressed out, she smokes. And it is almost too easy to stress her out.

This line is from a sitcom called Brooklyn Nine-Nine

What does the marked phrase mean? I think ıt means she gets stressed out easily but it is somehow strange to me.

Don't we use "it is + too + adjective + to + do something" to imply that you can't do "something" because is too "adjective" ?

For example : Your handwriting is too small to read. (I can't read your handwriting because it is too small.)

I think in the quoted sentence, "almost" somehow make it right this usage.


1 Answer 1


Yes, you are right about the meaning of the construction "too [adj.] to [something]". The pattern in your quoted sentence might look like that construction, but in this case, the phrase "to stress her out" has a different function in the sentence.

"Too" can also be used by itself as a simple adverb modifying an adjective. That is the way it is used here.

Merriam-Webster gives these definitions of "too":

"to an excessive degree"; "to such a degree as to be regrettable".

The phrase "to stress her out" just names the activity that is easy.

So "It is too easy to stress her out." just means "Stressing her out is excessively easy." (i.e. It goes beyond what is reasonable or acceptable.)

  • I automatically thought the other pattern-too [adj.] to [something]. But from the context, you could see that pattern wasn't the case in that sentece. Can I use "so" here? "It is so easy to stress her out." Jul 13, 2019 at 21:22
  • 1
    @TalhaÖzden Yes. "It is so easy to stress her out." will carry the same meaning in this context. Purists will point out that "so easy" and "too easy" aren't always exactly the same, but in this conversation about smoking & stress (where we aren't discussing consequences or precise degrees of "easi-ness"), they are interchangeable.
    – Lorel C.
    Jul 13, 2019 at 21:49

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