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I saw a sentence on the wall in a coffee shop in China, is this right to use "too...to"here?

//Transcript:

Life is too short to spend time with people who share happiness with you. //

I used to think "too...to"can only be used as "something is too...so we shouldn't", for example, life is too short to spend time with someone we don't love.

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You are correct. Your sentence
"Life is too short to spend time with someone we don't love."
makes sense.

The writer of the sentence on the wall probably left out a negation, for example,

Life is too short not to spend time with people who share happiness with you.
Life is too short to spend time with people who don't share happiness with you.
Life is not too short to spend time with people who share happiness with you.

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There's nothing grammatically wrong with it. The usual usage of "Life is too short to X" is to express that there are lots of usages of one's time that are better than X, and life is to short to do these other things and do X, so you should do those other things and not do X. In other words, "Life is so short, you shouldn't do X". However, one could use the construction to mean "Life is so short that there isn't time left over to do X". That is, "Life is so short, you can't do X". That's not the usual meaning, but it isn't "wrong".

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  • But in this context, I think it applies the first usage you mentioned. So I think the sentence on the wall I saw is not quite accurate.
    – Iris_Xie
    Commented Sep 6, 2020 at 7:19

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