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Enough vs Too | Grammar Differences

5 min read
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4 February, 2021
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This week, we’re back with another fascinating grammar post for our Meet Our Academic Team series. Meet Debra Homestead, an instructor at our Golden West College in beautiful Huntington Beach, California. She took some time out of her busy teaching schedule to put together an easy-to-follow lesson on the differences between 'enough' and 'too,' laying out exactly when and how to use them in English. Take a look and see if you can incorporate this grammar into your own English conversations!

 

How to Use Enough and Too

It’s hard not to confuse your adjectives when first learning how to speak English. The rules change based on a word’s relation to other words, and that can get a bit frustrating. Let’s examine two words in particular that often cause some confusion in both speaking and writing in English: enough and too.

 

Enough

First, take a closer look at the word enough. When used after an adjective, enough meanssufficient to meet a need or satisfy a desire. However, when enough is used after an adverb it means there is a quantity or degree that satisfies.

Enough can be used with adjectives or adverbs.

Adjectives

  • She is old enough to drive. (She is able to drive)
  • He is strong enough to carry the box. (He is able to carry the box)

Adverbs

  •  They work hard enough to get good grades.
  •  We drove fast enough to arrive on time.

 

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Unlike with adjectives and adverbs, when describing nouns, enough comes before the noun. In these cases, the meaning of enough is a satisfactory amount of something.  The amount is adequate and sufficient.

When used with pronouns or with special adjectives such as the, a, an, my, your, etc., enough needs to be followed by the word “of”. These adjectives are called determiners, and are used to specify which thing you are talking about. Without a pronoun or determiner, you don’t use the of.

  •  If enough of us go on the trip, they will give us a discounted rate.
    (Us is a pronoun, so the “of” is necessary)
  •  I saved enough of my dinner to be able to eat the rest for lunch the next day.
    (My is a determiner, so the “of” is necessary)

 

Too

Now, let’s consider the word too, and how to use it. The word too means that something is excessive.  Using too before an adjective implies a negative result.

  • The car is too expensive. (Not possible to buy)
  • It’s too dangerous to climb. (Not possible to climb)

Too can be used easily with adjectives or adverbs.

Adjectives

  •  The car is too expensive. (Not possible to buy)
  •  The chair is too heavy to carry. (Not possible to carry)

Adverbs

  • He speaks too quietly for me to understand.
  • She’s running too quickly for me to catch up.

When describing nouns, you’ll need to add the word “many” for countable nouns and “much” for uncountable nouns.

  • Too many friends are visiting for me to have all of them in my apartment.
  • There is too much fog for me to be able to see the road.

The same rules apply for pronouns and determiners as with enough.

  • Too much of my day is spent writing emails!
    (My is a determiner, so you need the “of”)
  •  Too many of us were busy, so we had to find a new date for the trip.
    (Us is a pronoun, so you need to “of”)

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