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Too & Enough

March 20, 2014

A few weeks ago, I blogged about So, Such & Too. I mentioned that these commonly confused words often trip students up because they have similar meanings and grammatical functions. Two other words that students have trouble keeping straight are too and enough. While their meanings are basically the opposite of each other, these two terms have similar grammatical functions. However, teaching students the different sentence patterns helps to minimize the confusion!

Too

Patterns:
  • TOO + ADJ
  • TOO + ADV
Meaning: Too has the meaning of very or a lot, and it is usually used for negative cases. Too means that something is incomplete or unable to be completed (it basically means can’t).
Function: This adverb comes before the adjective or adverb it’s describing.
Examples:
  • The test was too difficult to finish on time. (too + Adj)
  • It’s too cold to go skiing today. (too + Adj)
  • She speaks too quickly. I can’t understand what she’s saying. (too + Adv)
  • Don’t wait too long before registering for the course. (too + Adv)
Note

The pattern too + Adj/Adv is often followed by an infinitive verb (to + base V).

Enough

Patterns:
  • ADJ + ENOUGH
  • ADV + ENOUGH
  • ENOUGH + N
Meaning: Enough has the meaning of completion or satisfaction, and it is usually used for positive cases. Enough refers to the correct amount of something.
Function: When functioning as an adverb, enough comes after the adjective or adverb it’s describing. When functioning as an adjective, it comes before a noun.
Examples:
  • The instructions were clear enough for me to assemble the unit myself. (Adj + enough)
  • Was your internet connection fast enough to download that file on time? (Adj + enough)
  • He spoke slowly enough for everyone to understand. (Adv + enough)
  • I couldn't run fast enough to win the race. (Adv + enough)
  • There was enough pizza for everybody. (enough + N)
  • Did you bring enough money on your trip? (enough + N)
Note

The patterns Adj/Adv + enough and enough + N are often followed by for + N or an infinitive verb (to + base V).

Summary

Use too for negative situations and enough for positive ones. Too comes before the adjective or adverb it’s describing, while enough comes after the adjective or adverb. Enough comes before a noun, whereas too is never used before a noun.

I hope that was clear enough,

Tanya

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Comments (8)

Kkam Jong(Guest)

Can u answer me ?
Eg. The house is so big that two families can live in it*.
The house is big enough for two families to live in .
In the 2nd sentence, shoud I put pronoun 'it' at the end of the sentence ? Or not?
Is it need to put any pronoun in 'enough to ' pattern ??

Reply to Comment

Tanya Trusler(Author)

Good question! You don't need to put 'it' in the second sentence. The reason is that 'so that' takes a clause (SVO) with a subject, verb, and sometimes object. 'enough' is usually following by a preposition + noun/noun phrase, so you don't need a verb or object.

The house is so big that + two families (S) can live (V) in it (O).

The house is big enough + for two families to live in (prep + N phrase).

Hope that helps! :)

prince kumar(Guest)

Combine following pair of sentences
1. she was sleepy.
2.He didn't answer my questions

Reply to Comment

Tanya Trusler(Author)

You can only combine those sentences if they have the same subject.

  1. She was sleepy.
  2. She didn't answer my questions.

= She was too sleepy to answer my questions.

Abdul Nasser(Guest)

You did it! It is really informative and helpful.

Reply to Comment

Tanya Trusler(Author)

Great to hear! Thanks, Abdul.

Ismah (Guest)

Thank you

Reply to Comment

Tanya Trusler(Author)

You're welcome, Ismah.

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