I was horrified to see our company create an ad that reads:

Don't be too fool to use the hard drive"

However, Googling the expression "Don't be too fool" seems to show that it's a popular turn of phrase.

Is it English? And if so, what really does it mean?

Is it simply another way of saying "Don't be a fool" or "Don't be foolish"?

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    I've never heard 'too fool' at all and my google search turned up nothing for it so I ran a google ngram search to compare the relative frequency of 'too foolish' and 'to fool'. It came up with one hit each for 'too fool' and 'Too fool'. Perhaps it's too new for Ngram.
    – BoldBen
    Nov 23, 2020 at 10:15
  • Definitely non-standard, and would be regarded as illiterate/careless by many people.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 23, 2020 at 13:25
  • I take too fool to mean too proud, or 'foolishly above the idea' that the hard drive is still a solid option. Nov 23, 2020 at 21:40

1 Answer 1


This is a broadened usage, and still, I'd say, non-standard. For the adjectival usage of fool, Macmillan adds three caveats:

fool {adjective} [only before noun] [American] [informal]

stupid or silly

  • What’s that fool boy done now?

The predicative use, (as well as the graded use, as no example is supplied), is thus not sanctioned. Lexico and Cambridge Dictionary also carry the [only before noun] caveats. Though not given the explicit caveat by Merriam-Webster, only ungraded prenominal examples are given.

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    It's definitely non-standard but it seems common to use non-standard forms in adverts, as the goal is to be snappy and memorable. (Apple's "Think different" is perhaps still the most famous ungrammatical ad - "think differently" is more standard.)
    – Stuart F
    Nov 23, 2020 at 10:57
  • ... Perhaps sufficiently common to be classed as an 'extragrammatical' idiom now? Wiktionary lists the adverb usage. Nov 23, 2020 at 14:45

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