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I've had a teacher flatly tell me that とっても is incorrect, but I do see it written here and there and I'm pretty sure I hear it as well. Is it just so informal relative to とても that I should never use it in a classroom or on schoolwork?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 16 down vote accepted

とっても is a spoken variant of とても, just like すんごい is a spoken variant of すごい and あんまり is a spoken variant of あまり. If you're writing a paper or speaking in a formal setting, it's better to use とても.

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3  
To add to this, とっても sounds stronger to me. But that just might depend on how it is said and could differ from person to person. –  phirru Jun 8 '11 at 12:23
    
@phirru: It sounds stronger to me as well, but I don't have anything solid to back this up. –  Derek Schaab Jun 8 '11 at 12:24
    
It appears we're correct from the link @YOU has posted. –  phirru Jun 8 '11 at 13:06
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Good answer. This is actually a venerable method of emphasis. Right now forms like とっても and みんな are considered very informal, but one day in the future they might replace their non-geminated variants just like きっと and まったく did. –  Boaz Yaniv Jun 8 '11 at 13:14
    
It sounds stronger just by obviousness. If you say "awesome" versus "aaaaawwwwwesome", the latter obviously has more emotion put in to it. Basically you're just stretching out the sound by adding the っ, so that indicate the extra emotion put in to it. –  istrasci Jun 8 '11 at 14:12

とっても is just a strong form of とても according to 大辞泉, so both are correct.

It has similar pronunciation (may be a bit different intonation) with 取っても, so may be it could confuse some.

But usage of とっても can be found since 昭和30年(1955) (at least) from this song called

月がとっても青いから by 菅原 都々子 (すがわら つづこ)

So, I believe you can use it most of the time but if the place you are going to use demand too formal, you may need to use non-strong one とても. But I doubt most people would not care or even notice it unless they are tracking you like in your case.

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It's like the difference between really and reeeeally. とっても is not incorrect, but it might be a little colloquial to use in a classroom, depending on the teacher. It's even in my dictionary with a couple of examples. In the dictionary it says 「とても」を強めていう語, it makes とても stronger.

とってもおいしい - reeeallly tasty!
だめだなんて僕にはとっても言えない - There's no way I could say that!

Bonus Here's an episode from an anime called とっても!タッキーマン on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot5mxNYnimE

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Generally, とっても gives a stronger emphasis to what you're describing, but it can be "too strong" in certain situations, such as formal and semi-formal situations(even with new friends) and real writing.

On the other hand, it's generally A-OK to use とても in any situation, though for more formal situations, you might want to substitute the word out with 大変(たいへん).

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