Using Enough in English

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Reading English texts, you might notice the word enough in different contexts and as different parts of speech. This might need to be clarified, especially for beginners. Below, we will define the word enough and explain all its usage rules.

“Enough” definition

The word “enough” means that something meets a required or desired standard without excess. It might be translated as “as much as necessary.” It can be used in the English language:

  • as a determiner;
  • as a pronoun;
  • with adjectives;
  • with nouns;
  • with verbs;
  • with adverbs;
  • with an adjective and a noun;
  • in the phrase “enough of.”

With some practice, you will understand the difference very fast and use enough in a sentence without concerns.

Enough as a determiner 

Being a determiner, the “enough” word indicates the necessary quantity, degree, or extent needed for something for a particular purpose. In this case, it typically precedes the noun it quantifies. Below there are some examples of using enough in a sentence:

  1. She had enough money to buy the car. (Here, 'enough' specifies that the quantity of money was adequate.)
  2. We have enough chairs for everyone. (In this case, 'enough' is placed before the noun 'chairs' and shows that every person at the event had a chair to sit).
  3. Do we have enough food for the party? (In this case, 'enough' is used to question the sufficiency of something).

Enough is also used as a determiner in negative contexts. In this case, it specifies that something isn’t meeting the desired standard. For example: “He didn’t have enough time to finish the test.” In this sentence, 'enough' indicates a lack of the necessary time.

Enough with adjectives and adverbs

You can often spot sentences with enough where it modifies adjectives and adverbs. In such cases, enough should be positioned right after the word it modifies. This is a key distinction from its placement as a determiner, where it precedes the noun. 

Writing a sentence with enough to modify an adjective, you indicate that the quality described by the adjective reaches or exceeds a necessary level or standard. As well, the word ‘enough’ modifies the adverb to indicate a sufficient degree or extent of an action, manner, or aspect.

  1. She is tall enough to play basketball. (Here, 'enough' modifies 'tall,' indicating the sufficient height level.)
  2. Is the coffee hot enough? (Inquiring if the coffee's temperature reaches a satisfactory level.)
  3. He isn't old enough to drive a car. (Indicates insufficiency in age.)
  4. She spoke loudly enough for everyone to hear. ('Enough' modifies 'loudly,' suggesting sufficient volume.)
  5. Did he run quickly enough to catch the bus? (Asks if the speed of running was sufficient.)
  6. They didn’t work hard enough to complete the project on time. (Indicates that the level of effort was not sufficient.)

As you can see, ‘enough’ with adjectives and adverbs is a versatile tool in the English language. It helps to express the adequacy of different actions or phenomena.

Enough with verbs

This case is very similar to the previous one. When used with verbs, enough should follow the word it modifies. It indicates that the verb's action is carried out to a sufficient degree or extent.

  1. She slept enough to feel refreshed. (Here, 'enough' modifies the verb 'slept,' indicating the sufficiency of sleep for feeling refreshed.)
  2. He didn’t study enough for the exam. (In this sentence, 'enough' follows the verb 'study,' showing that the amount of study was insufficient for the exam.)
  3. Did you eat enough at dinner? (Asking if the act of eating at dinner reached a satisfactory level.)
  4. They have worked enough today. (In this case, 'enough' follows the verb phrase 'have worked,' indicating a sufficient degree of effort.)
  5. If you practice enough, you'll improve your skills." ('Enough' follows the verb 'practice,' suggesting that a sufficient amount of practice will lead to improvement.)

In these examples, you can see that enough qualifies the extent of different actions, indicating whether they meet a desired level. Such usage adds a layer of specificity and helps to communicate more accurately about different events in everyday life.

Mastering the Usage of 'Enough' in English

Enough as a pronoun

A less intuitive case is when ‘enough’ is used as a pronoun. In such situations, it replaces the noun to demonstrate the sufficiency of something without actually naming a thing. The main function of enough as a pronoun is to avoid repetition. Most often, you can understand the noun modified through the context of previous sentences in a dialogue or text.

  1. I don't need more; I have enough. (Here, 'enough' replaces the noun representing what is being discussed, like money, time, etc. The specific noun might be understood from the deeper context.)
  2. Do you need more cookies? No, thanks, this is enough. (In this instance, 'enough' stands in for the implied 'number of cookies.')
  3. We need more chairs. Five is not enough. ('Enough' here substitutes for the implied noun, such as 'five chairs')
  4. We need more wine. They didn't bring enough. (In this sentence, 'enough' replaces the noun ‘wine').
  5. We have enough to start the project. ('Enough' refers to an unspecified resource, such as money, time, or materials, necessary for starting the project.)

Being a pronoun, ‘enough’ can appear in various positions in a sentence, depending on the structure and meaning. It helps to avoid redundancy by replacing nouns or noun phrases that are already clear from the context.

Enough with an adjective and a noun

This usage of enough in a sentence might be the most challenging for English learners, but we’ll help you to understand it. The structure is always as follows: adjective+enough+noun. The main role of ‘enough’ is to show that a noun possesses an adjective’s quality to a necessary degree. Here are some examples for better understanding:

  1. She brought a big enough suitcase for all her clothes. (Here, 'enough' modifies 'big' in relation to 'suitcase,' indicating the suitcase's size is adequate for the purpose.)
  2. He doesn’t have a strong enough argument to convince the audience. (In this case, 'enough' modifies 'strong' as it applies to 'argument,' indicating that the argument's strength is inadequate.)
  3. We need to find a quiet enough room to record the podcast. ('Enough' modifies 'quiet' in relation to 'room,' suggesting the room needs to meet a certain level of quietness for recording.)
  4. Is the water warm enough for swimming? (Here, 'enough' is used to question if the adjective 'warm' sufficiently applies to the noun 'water' for the activity of swimming.)

In this structure, enough plays a crucial role in linking the adjective with the noun and helping to send the message of the sentence clearly.


The phrase ‘enough of’

This phrase indicates that something meets a certain degree when a person speaks about a part of a whole or when it’s necessary to stop something because of an excessive degree. ‘Enough of’ usually follows a noun or a pronoun. Here are some examples:

  1. I've had enough of this noise. (the speaker is frustrated with the noise and wants it to stop.)
  2. We have had enough of the cake; let’s save the rest for tomorrow. (someone ate a sufficient amount of cake.)
  3. They have seen enough of the city for today. (they have toured or experienced a sufficient part of the city.)
  4. I’ve had enough of waiting; I’m going home. (the speaker expresses that they no longer wish to continue waiting.)
  5. Enough of arguing; let’s find a solution. (This is often used to put an end to an ongoing action or behavior that is deemed excessive.)

‘Enough of’ is commonly used in negative contexts to express frustration, completion, or sufficiency. It often leads to a decision to stop something, change the situation, or someone’s behavior.

Brief review

‘Enough’ is a versatile tool in the English language. It plays a crucial role in expressing someone’s feelings and indicating the degree or sufficiency of something.

As pronounDepends on the contextReplace the noun and avoid redundancy

They offered me more dessert, but I had eaten enough.

After hours of discussion, we concluded we knew enough to make a decision.

With adjectivesafter the adjective it modifiesindicate that the adjective that modifies the noun reaches a necessary degree 

The water was warm enough for a comfortable swim.

She was clever enough to solve the puzzle quickly.

With adverbsafter the adverb it modifiesindicate a sufficient degree of action or manner

He spoke loudly enough for the entire crowd to hear.

The children played quietly enough not to disturb the neighbors.

As a determinerbefore the noun it modifiesindicate that something meets a necessary standard

There is enough bread for everyone to have a slice.

She didn’t have enough patience to wait another hour.

With verbsafter the verb it modifiesindicate that action is carried out to a sufficient degree

They laughed enough to forget their troubles for a moment.

She didn’t study enough and struggled during the exam.

With adjective and nounbetween adjective and nounindicate that the noun possesses the adjective's quality to a satisfactory degree.

He needs a fast enough computer to handle the new software.

She looked for a large enough room to host the party.

The phrase ‘enough of’before the phenomena it refers toexpress frustration, completion, or sufficiency.

I’ve had enough of these delays; let's act now.

They decided they had seen enough of the museum and left to have lunch.


Although ‘enough’ has only one general function in the English language, many learners might find it challenging. However, with enough practice, you will quickly understand the rules of using this word and placing it in sentences. 

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