Decoding AP Style's 'Too' Rule

Comma Before Too: Unraveling the Mystery of AP Style’s Sentence End Rule

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Derek Cupp

By Derek Cupp

Ever found yourself hesitating, hands hovering over the keyboard, unsure whether to put a comma before ‘too’ at the end of a sentence? I’ve been there. It’s a common punctuation predicament that even seasoned writers stumble upon. But worry not! We’re about to clear up this conundrum once and for all, mastering AP Style’s rule on this matter.

There are many grammar rules we dutifully follow without truly understanding why. Let’s not let the “comma before too” be one of them. Through this article, I’ll help you understand when and why you should (or shouldn’t) use a comma before ‘too’, according to AP style.

By the end of this piece, that little flicker of doubt will have vanished from your eyes. You’ll strike those keys confidently knowing you’re making the right choice when it comes to using a comma with ‘too’. Here’s to fewer grammatical grey areas in our writing lives!

Understanding AP Style’s Sentence End Rule

It’s often a point of confusion, the question of whether or not to place a comma before ‘too’ at the end of a sentence. Let’s dive in and unravel this complexity together. According to AP Style, the leading guide for journalists and PR practitioners, it isn’t necessary to use a comma before ‘too’ when it is used in the sense of ‘also’. My advice? Keep things simple.

Typically, you’d see sentences such as “I love studying English, too.” In AP style, that comma disappears: “I love studying English too.” The meaning remains clear without any need for that extra punctuation mark. It’s all about keeping your writing clean and uncluttered.

Now you might be thinking, are there exceptions? Of course! Grammar rules aren’t always set in stone. If emphasizing the word ‘too’, then by all means, throw in that comma: “I, too, enjoy a good book.” Here the pause created by commas around ‘too’ gives it added emphasis.

But what about when ‘too’ starts a sentence? This is where it gets interesting. Starting off with ‘Too,’ suggests an incomplete thought like “Too, I realized he was right.” Yet according to AP style guidelines this shouldn’t be done because sentences should stand complete on their own.


  • No comma needed before ‘too’ used as ‘also’.
  • Comma can be used for emphasis.
  • Avoid starting sentences with ‘Too,’

This rule helps create clean text free from unnecessary punctuation marks. And remember – practice makes perfect! Keep these tips close by as you continue to hone your grammar skills.

The Debate on Comma Before ‘Too’ in Writing

Let’s dive right into the crux of the matter. One of the most debated grammar rules in AP style is whether or not to use a comma before ‘too’ at the end of a sentence. There’s no consensus, really. Some experts say it’s necessary; others argue it isn’t.

Why such a divide? Well, let me shed some light on this puzzling issue. First off, traditionally, writers have been using commas to separate ‘too’ when it means ‘also’. For instance:

  • “I like pizza, too.”
  • “She’ll be joining us for dinner, too.”

However, modern grammarians are increasingly moving towards omitting that comma. They claim its absence doesn’t lead to any confusion and hence isn’t required.

Now here comes the interesting part! AP Stylebook – considered by many as the grammar bible – surprisingly takes a middle ground here. It advises that comma usage should depend on the writer’s desired meaning.

Example Explanation
I love you too. No pause before ‘too’. More intimate and immediate
I love you, too. Pause before ‘too’. A bit more formal

So basically what they’re saying is – if you want your writing to sound informal or conversational (like spoken language), then skip the comma. But if formality is what you’re aiming for – go ahead and put that comma in there!

In conclusion (yes, we’ve reached that point already!), there’s no hard and fast rule about using a comma before ‘too’. It really boils down to your writing style and how formal or informal you’d like your text to come across as.

Navigating the often murky waters of English punctuation can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to using commas. The rule governing whether or not to place a comma before ‘too’ at the end of a sentence is one such example that leaves many scratching their heads. Let’s dive into some practical examples that’ll help clarify this point.

Consider these two sentences: “I love pizza too” and “I love pizza, too”. Both are correct, but they convey slightly different meanings. In the first sentence, without the comma, ‘too’ simply emphasizes agreement with someone else who loves pizza. On the other hand, in the second sentence where ‘too’ is preceded by a comma, it can imply an afterthought or an additional piece of information as if saying “By the way, I also love pizza”.

Now let’s look at another pair of sentences: “She’ll join for dinner too.” versus “She’ll join for dinner, too.” Once again both are acceptable depending on what you want to express. Without the comma before ‘too’, it merely echoes someone else’s sentiment about joining for dinner. With a comma however, there’s an undertone suggesting perhaps she wasn’t initially planned to attend but has now decided to come along.

We’ve established that both forms are grammatically correct—it’s all down to your intended meaning and style preference.

While we’re on this topic though – do remember not every ‘too’ needs its own personal comma! For instance in sentences like “It’s never too late”, keep that pesky little punctuation mark at bay!

So remember folks – when you’re tempted to slap down a comma before ‘too’ at end of your sentence—think about what you’re trying to get across!

Mastering The Art of Punctuation: Conclusion

I’ve walked you through the maze of AP style’s sentence end rule. It’s been an adventure, hasn’t it? We’ve looked at when to use a comma before ‘too’ and when not to. I trust you’ve picked up a few nuggets along the way that will make your writing sparkle.

Let’s take a moment to remember what we learned:

  • Commas are not always necessary before ‘too’. Their usage depends on context and emphasis.
  • In AP style, it’s better to skip the comma unless you’re aiming for added emphasis or clarity.

But don’t let your learning stop here! There’s more to master in punctuation land. Semi-colons, colons, quotes… these little marks have big jobs in our language. They shape meaning and rhythm; they give life to our words.

So keep exploring, keep questioning. Remember – excellent writing isn’t just about knowing the rules; it’s about understanding how and when to break them too.

In this journey of mastering punctuation, I’m right there with you – learning, growing, improving one sentence at a time.

Here’s an example table for further clarification:

Sentence Correct/Incorrect
She decided to come too. Correct
She decided to come, too. Incorrect

Happy punctuating! Keep practicing till using commas becomes second nature. Trust me; it’ll be worth every minute spent!

Remember: knowledge is power – but practice makes perfect!

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