Ample and adequate (Other ways of saying ‘enough’)

Listen to the author reading this blog post:

a tired-looking man sitting at a desk is pouring coffee from a jug into a coffee cup that is overflowing and spilling onto the table
Tim Robberts / Stone / Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

One of various things that we like to do on this blog is consider the many different ways we express the same thing in English. (Of course, we are rarely expressing exactly the same thing and it’s the differences – sometimes very subtle – that make language interesting.) In today’s post, I’m looking at words and phrases we use to convey the basic meaning of ‘enough’.

Let’s start with the adjectives adequate and sufficient, both of which are used to mean ‘enough for a particular purpose’. The opposites of these adjectives are formed with the prefix in-:

Sadly, she didn’t have adequate time to prepare.

There isn’t sufficient evidence to prove this claim.

Unfortunately, the masks provided inadequate protection.

Insufficient staffing had caused a number of safety issues.

Sometimes, we want to say that there is a large amount or number of something that is more than enough. We have the word plenty for this. It is used both as a quantifier followed by of and a pronoun:

There’s plenty of room for everyone. / There are plenty of opportunities. 

Twenty pounds spending money should be plenty for the week.

Another nice way of saying ‘more than enough’ is the adjective ample:

There will be ample time for questions after the session. / There’s ample food for everyone.

A rather formal way of saying that something is enough is to say that it will or should suffice:

70 grams of rice per person should suffice.

The phrase that will do is used in conversation to mean that there is enough of something and no more is needed:

“I’ve put fifty chairs in the hall – do you need any more?” “No, I think that will do, thanks.”

The context for this next phrase is very specific! If you are pouring a drink for someone and you want them to tell you when you have poured enough, you can use the expression say when:

And a glass of white wine for you, Sara. Say when.

Of course, few blog posts are complete without a phrasal verb or two, so here are two nice ones in this area. If there is enough of something to go round, there is enough for everyone in a group of people:

Are there enough hand-outs to go round? / With fifty people present, there wasn’t enough food to go round.

Meanwhile, if a supply of something such as food or money holds out, especially in difficult circumstances, there is enough of it to last for a period of time:

Our food supplies won’t hold out for much longer.

I hope this post provides plenty of ways of saying ‘enough’! My next post will look at words and phrases for saying that there is too little or there are too few of something.

11 thoughts on “Ample and adequate (Other ways of saying ‘enough’)

    1. Natalia

      Thank you for another helpful post! Read them regularly! And, I guess there is a typo in the middle of it: you meant ‘few blog posts are INcomplete without phrasal verb or two’?

  1. Anwar

    Thank you so much for the post. It’s very instructive indeed. English is a marvelous language. But it’s like a bottomless, shoreless ocean- unfathomable. I have had spent almost two thirds of my 45-year lifespan studying the language. And yet, I feel that I still a very long way to go. Hopefully, I will get there.

  2. Gabriel Qin

    What a great post on different words for saying enough. I literally can recognize these but cannot use in a proper way. Such a fabulous blog comes to a big help!

Leave a Reply