I know the meaning of too many and one too many, but is there any difference in usage? Perhaps, some difference in meaning? I don't feel any difference.

He lied to me too many times.

He lied to me one too many times.

  • 1
    I think the idiom is used to refer to a drink. It's substandard to refer to something else. Instead, you can say he lied to me too many times. You can also say he lied to me once too often, but it has a different meaning. – Khan Jun 23 '16 at 4:23
  • It is not at all substandard to use this locution with contexts other than drinking alcoholic beverages. It is used in a wide variety of contexts. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 23 '16 at 11:31
  • But it might be better stylistically to choose "once too often" with verbs, and "one too many" with nouns. He told me one too many lies. He lied to me once too often. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 23 '16 at 11:35

He lied to me too many times.

is a general statement saying "he" has told you so many lies that you no longer believe him any more.

He lied to me one too many times.

"One too many" is an intensifier to emphasise the number of lies is too many. It may also be said after the last time "he" lied to you, after which you no longer believe him. The proverbial

Straw that broke the camel's back.

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    up-voted. To rephrase a bit (as I feel that Peter's wording might be a bit difficult to grasp for a non-native or someone with limited English) - "one too many" implies that the last "one" was that threshold after which you stopped believing "him". If that last "one" didn't happen - you might still continue to trust "him". – tum_ Jun 23 '16 at 7:42
  • Thanks, I appreciate your help. "Straw" is quite understandable. – V.V. Jun 23 '16 at 13:11
  • Shouldn't it be "the straw"? – V.V. Jun 23 '16 at 13:17
  • The way it's written, "the proverbial" is outside the yellow box. – Peter Jun 23 '16 at 13:24

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