A few weeks ago, I blogged about So, Such, and 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!
Patterns: TOO + ADJ or 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).
Grammatical function: This adverb comes before the adjective or adverb it’s describing.
- 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).
Patterns: ADJ + ENOUGH or ADV + ENOUGH or 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.
Grammatical 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.
- 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).
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,