" I know you're having a big test next Monday, but don't work yourself so hard"

In this sentence, Can I possibly use "too hard" instead of "so hard"? Thanks in advance.

  • Yes, you possibly can. In the future, you might check out our sister site: ell.stackexchange.com.
    – DyingIsFun
    Jun 21, 2016 at 13:30
  • 1
    Use a dictionary to establish the meanings of so and too. Obviously in your context, Don't work so hard means Don't work as hard as you are working, whereas Don't work too hard means Don't work excessively hard (with no implied reference to how hard you're currently working). Jun 21, 2016 at 13:31

1 Answer 1


It really depends on when this is being said.

"Don't work yourself so hard" would mean that whoever says it is observing this person working really hard and is admonishing them to relax a little.

"Don't work yourself too hard" would mean that the person saying this either does not know how much work has been done or is being done and is warning them not to overdo it, or that they notice the person has not yet started working and they wish for them not to overexert themselves when they do start.

This website may provide more clarification: http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/understanding-so-and-too-english-grammar-lesson/


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