Do you know how to use the word enough?

‘Enough’ can qualify an adjective or an adverb or it can go with a noun or even act as a pronoun.

With adjectives and adverbs

  • She isn’t tall enough to be a ballet dancer.
  • I’m afraid your work just isn’t good enough.
  • I couldn’t write quickly enough and I ran out of time.
  • I haven’t been to lessons often enough to have really learnt much.

Enough comes after adjectives and adverbs.

With nouns

  • There isn’t enough bread to make sandwiches.
  • Have you got enough money?
  • There aren’t enough nails.

Enough comes before nouns.

Enough of

  • There isn’t enough of bread

We don’t use enough of unless there is a determiner (an article, this/that, my/your/his etc).
We use enough of when there is a determiner.

  • I’ve had enough of your nonsense! ‘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! Be quiet!
  • Enough is enough.

With adjective and 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 nails. None of the nails are as big as we need.
  • We haven’t got enough big nails. We have some big nails but we need more.

When enough comes between the adjective and the noun (big enough nails) it qualifies the adjective – it tells us that the nails aren’t big enough. When enough comes before the adjective it qualifies the noun phrase – it tells us that there aren’t enough nails.



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2