An English tutoring column by Ralph Schatzki who would like you to join him
in the task of saving the language, step-by-step, word-by-word, one person at a time.
"O" - The Sad Letter
The Missing O - Often neglected letter in writing. Why is that? Here's
the columnist of -Saving English One Word At A Time- Ralph Schatzki's two cents on the topic.
That's To Much
The Missing O
Or, the Ironic "That's To Much"
The letter "o" looks like the number zero, but that doesn't mean it's worth nothing.
We read "books," while "bok" is the first half of a Chinese vegetable. If your wife
is about to have a baby boy, you might say that you will "soon" have a "son," but not the other way around!
The Sticky "O"
Of course, these are mistakes that are only made through carelessness, or due to a sticky "o" key on the keyboard.
It's not often that one would see these mistakes. Yet there is one instance where a poor (not "por") "o" is often
left out in people's writing through neglect, and that is when they use- or try to use- the word "too."
There are three ways to spell this homonym:
"two," (meaning 2, of course),
"to," (which has several meanings, chiefly to show direction toward a point and as the beginning of the infinitive form
of a verb, but there are many others),
and "too," (meaning "also," or an excessive amount).
Almost everyone knows these words, yet so many people drop an "o" when using the word, "too."
Is this laziness? Forgetfulness? The problem, I believe, lies in the facts that "to" and "too" are homonyms,
that in dropping the "extra" letter one still has a real word, and especially that the "o" is repeated in "too,"
so it seems easier to drop than if it were a different letter.
Whatever the reason, though, please be careful and spell "too" properly when you use it. Your readers will
thank you, at least in their heads.
A proofreader, editor, author, math teacher and tutor, professional opera singer, ex-lawyer (by his own choice), sports fan, husband and
father. He has lived on both American coasts, as well as in the southwest and midwest, and overseas in Thailand for more than thirteen
years. He loves to read, write and perform, to watch sports, and to spend time with his family.
If you are pleased with this column,
please treat us to a cup of Joe!