Today on Ask a Teacher, a reader from Brazil asks about two common adverbs. Here is his question:
Hello from Brazil! Teacher, could you explain to us how and when to use "as well" and "too"? Obrigado! – Luan Garcia, Brazil
I am happy to talk about the terms “as well” and “too.” I am also happy to talk about the word “also.” All three are adverbs that mean “in addition.” They are used in similar ways.
When to use
Let me start with when to use them.
“Too” is the most informal but is often the best choice when speaking American English.
“As well” is a little more formal than “too” and less common in American spoken English. Many Americans do use it in writing, however.
“Also” is generally more common in writing than speech.
How to use
Now let’s examine how they are used.
“Too” and “as well” usually come at the end of sentences. Listen to a short exchange:
Jerome is going to Mardi Gras.
I’m going to Mardi Gras, too!
The person could use “as well,” although it sounds somewhat formal:
I’m going to Mardi Gras as well.
Where is ‘also’?
The word “also” can appear many places in a sentence or clause. Here are a few.
At the start of a sentence, it can be used to present a new subject:
We’re so excited. Also, we brought a surprise.
But more often “also” appears in other positions, such as before the main verb:
We’re so excited. We also brought a surprise.
When “be” is the main verb, “also” comes after “be”:
I am also really excited.
Lastly, none of these adverbs are used in negative statements. Instead, use the word “either” or “neither.”
I can’t go to Mardi Gras this year.
That’s sad. Neither can I.
I can’t either.
And, one small note about “too:” It has a second meaning but that will be a subject for another day!
And that’s Ask a Teacher.
I’m Alice Bryant.
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Words in This Story
adverb – n. a word that is often used to show time, manner, place or degree
informal – adj. not suited for serious or official speech and writing
Mardi Gras – n. the Tuesday before the beginning of Lent that is often celebrated with parades and parties
clause – n. a part of a sentence that has its own subject and verb
excite – adj. very enthusiastic and eager about something
negative – adj. expressing denial or refusal