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I invariably see "too" classified as an adverb. But consider the following occurrences of the sentence "I did it too.":

  1. "Did you see what that guy did?" "Yes, I saw him do it. I did it too."

  2. "Did you watch that stunt?" "Yes, I watched it. I did it too."

  3. "Did you do that first thing?" "Yes." "And what about that second thing?" "I did it too."

It seems to me that in these three examples "too" modifies respectively "I", "did", and "it", making it an adjective 2/3 of the time. Why is this not the case?

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    Because it is acting as an advert, describing how you 'did' it. You did it as well. Even if it's 'I too am a cat', it's describing the verb 'am'. – JDF Feb 21 '17 at 12:43
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    Too is a focusing adverb here {see Thefreedictionary.com/Focusing-Adverbs}. 'Too' here focuses probably on the other guy's action in (1), the watching in (2), and the doing of the first thing in (3), and accompanies the parallel. It does not modify a neighbouring verb. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 21 '17 at 13:24
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    When skin is too green, too serves as an adjective, but not in your examples. Also, a standard comma will help you: "I did it, too." If you want to stress the person over the action, write "I, too, did it." – Yosef Baskin Feb 21 '17 at 15:59
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    No, you are conflating "word category" and "function". "Too" belongs solely to the category (part of speech" adverb). Even though it can modify a noun, as in "I too like it", there are insufficient grounds to allocate it two categories. The same applies to other focusing modifiers; consider, for example, "Ed loves only his work", where "only" is an adverb, but it is modifying the NP "his work". – BillJ Feb 21 '17 at 16:34
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    @EdwinAshworth - Could you please write an answer? (See OP's comment below.) – aparente001 Feb 22 '17 at 18:16
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The adverbs 'too', 'also' and 'as well' have the same meaning and are interchangeable. 'Too' and 'as well' normally come at the end-position, and 'also' with the verb in the mid-position in the clause.

A similar situation, as in the question here, has been dealt with in Michael Swan's Practical English Usage.

1- ( Other people have meeting on Sundays, and ) we have meeting on Sundays as well.

2- ( We do other things on Sundays, and ) we have meeting on Sundays as well.

3- ( We have meeting on other days, and ) we have meeting on Sundays as well.

These Adverbs of Focus ('too' and 'as well') can refer to different parts of a clause, depending on the meaning. When we speak, we show the exact meaning by stressing the word or expression that they refer to. In the first sentence, we say that we also have meeting like others; in the second sentence, we say that we have other things too to do ; and in the third sentence, we say that we have meeting on other days as we have meeting on Sundays.

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The answer from @mahmudkoya might be more complicated than you need. Here's a simpler explanation.

In all three of your examples, "too" modifies the verb. It just takes a little getting used to to notice these common adverbs that modify verbs:

I stood up too.

I jumped first.

I arrived late.

I stirred it slowly.

In all these cases, the word in bold is an adverb that modifies the verb.

  • Thanks for your help, but you have slightly missed the point. In all of your examples it is obvious that the adverb modifies the verb; the adverb describes how I stood, how I jumped, how I arrived, how I stirred. This is not the same as in cases like the ones mentioned, where "too" is used to draw attention ("focus") on nouns. Indeed, I found the explanation of focusing adverbs, and especially the link to thefreedictionary.com, most helpful. – Larry Denenberg Feb 22 '17 at 14:00
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    @Larry Denenberg I'd analyse the function of 'too' in 'I stood up too' as far from that of a (central) adverb. I'd make the comparison with the difference between determiners and adjectives; 'too' is describing the reference of the action in the context of the situation, rather than the manner etc of the action. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 22 '17 at 22:51
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    In "I stood up too", "too" is a "delayed modifier", modifying the subject "I". – BillJ Feb 23 '17 at 20:29
  • @BillJ, that's true only in one sense of the ambiguous "I stood up too". – Greg Lee Jun 22 '17 at 7:02

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