Grammar-ease: Using ‘and’ and ‘to’

Here is a grammar refresher on using and and to.

I see it all the time, and although it’s more a choice between casual and formal use than right and wrong, I thought it was worth writing about.

Here’s what I’m referring to:

  • Be sure and visit the robotic display at the museum. (casual)
  • Be sure to visit the robotic display at the museum. (formal)
  • When slicing a sandwich, try and cut it evenly. (casual)
  • When slicing a sandwich, try to cut it evenly. (formal)
  • Stop by the display and learn more. (casual)
  • Stop by the display to learn more. (formal)
  • ANDorTOMake sure and set the stove to 350 degrees. (casual)
  • Make sure to set the stove to 350 degrees. (formal)
  • When reading, pay attention and notice mistakes. (casual)
  • When reading, pay attention to notice mistakes. (formal)
  • Send the kids to the beach and have a great time. (casual)
  • Send the kids to the beach to have a great time. (formal)
  • My goal is to try and not set the smoke alarm off. (casual)
  • My goal is to try to not set the smoke alarm off. (formal)

You can see how the meanings are slightly different when using and versus to.  You can also see how easy it is to use and. (I know I’m guilty of it in general conversation and see it in a lot of novels.)

To is the best (formal) fit in most instances, like above.


LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with manufacturing, software, technology, and realty businesses of all sizes. She loves researching topics, interviewing experts, and helping companies tell their stories. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

54 thoughts on “Grammar-ease: Using ‘and’ and ‘to’

  1. Thanks for blogging this. Using ‘to’ in writing dialogue makes it sound more natural. ‘To’ is generally used in sentences when most people speak, compared to ‘and’ which makes the dialogue read and sound awkward.

  2. Like kthrog has said, this is a grammar pet peeve for me as well
    Could you write a post concerning ‘that’ and ‘which’ please?
    I sometimes struggle with these two words and wonder which one I should use in a sentence

  3. Thanks Lisa .

    And I agree with Philosopher . Since English is not my native language , I find it hard to remember how some English prepositions work .

  4. Thank you so much for the refresher! I see it a lot myself and even though it shouldn’t annoy me, seeing ‘and’ where really the writer meant ‘to’ does annoy me a little. Having said that I’m probably guilty of doing this myself sometimes! The important thing is, we notice and change it where necessary. Hopefully this little reminder will be useful to those who don’t understand the subtle difference in meaning, too.

  5. I am a teacher and it seems so interesting to watch the grammatical syntax. Sometime,s my students used to ask, but why can’t we use it this way? It makes sense too!! And I used to think, that is true and I had to tell the difference. This post gave me more insights as to how to explain grammar to my kids!! Thanks!

  6. Pingback: Grammar-ease: Using ‘who’ versus ‘that’ | Live to Write – Write to Live

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