I was reading about excess and in one of the examples I found this,

They both eat to excess.

Why didn't this use 'too' instead of 'to'? It does not make sense to me, I don't know why.

  • 1
    To excess is a rather highbrow way of saying too much. May 25, 2022 at 13:38
  • 2
    Because this is to in the (metaphorical) sense of "direction towards". too means "also", which doesn't make sense here.
    – stangdon
    May 25, 2022 at 14:04
  • They both eat [up] to the point of becoming obese. May 25, 2022 at 14:52

1 Answer 1


"To" is correct because "excess" is a noun.

Here, "to" is a preposition that indicates the extent. This is from Merriam-Webster:

to preposition
d (2) —used as a function word to indicate the limit of extent
// stripped to the waist

In your example sentence, it means they ate so much that it was excessive.

"Too" is incorrect because it can only modify gradable words, like certain adjectives and adverbs. "Too" is sometimes used before a noun, but it means the noun is being used as an adjective or adverb:

This painting is beautiful, but too Warhol for my living room.

In this example, "Warhol" is understood to mean "Warhol-like" or "similar to Warhol's art".

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