This post looks at a word that is often confusing for many learners.
‘Enough’ can be either an adjective or an adverb. It can be used with adjectives, adverbs, nouns, or it can be used instead of a pronoun.
Using enough with adjectives and adverbs
Word position: adjective or adverb + enough
His painting wasn’t good enough to win the competition.
We didn’t leave early enough and we missed the train.
I’m afraid I haven’t been to the gym enough lately. I have put on a bit of weight!
I ran after them but I couldn’t run fast enough to catch up with them.
Using enough with nouns
Word position: enough + noun
I’m exhausted. I haven’t had enough sleep.
Have you got enough money to pay for your ticket?
Is there enough milk or do I need to go to the shop?
I don’t have enough time. I’m sorry.
Using enough with an adjective and a noun
When enough is used with an adjective and a noun, two positions are possible but the meaning changes. Look at these two sentences.
We haven’t got big enough plates. They’re all too small!
Meaning: The plates we have are too small. We need bigger plates.
We haven’t got enough big plates. We need some more!
Meaning: We have some big plates but we don’t have as many as we need.
When enough comes between the adjective and the noun (big enough plates) it qualifies the adjective.
When enough comes before the adjective it qualifies the noun phrase.
We don’t use enough of unless there is a determiner. We use enough of when there is a determiner (an article, this/that, my/your/his etc).
- I’ve had enough of your noise, keep quiet! ‘Your’ is a determiner here.
- I haven’t seen enough of the film to really form an opinion.
Enough can also be used without a noun.
- That’s enough! Stand still!
- Enough is enough.