Too / Enough

State minimum and maximum requirements

Babe sitting on the hood of a sports car
 

 

Too versus Enough

TOO + ADJECTIVE  + INFINITIVE PHRASE

Too expresses that something is inadequate (below what is desirable) or excessive (above what is desirable). The expression is complemented by an infinitive. 

Jill is too young to drive(She cannot / may not drive.)   

The car is too comlex  for her to drive. (She cannot drive it.)

The driving test is too difficult for her to pass. (She cannot pass it.)

ADJECTIVE + ENOUGH  + INFINITIVE PHRASE

Enough expresses that something is adequate, within what is desirable.  The expression is complemented by an infinitive.  The infinitive may include a subject introduced by for[for her] to do.

Jill is old enough to drive. (She can / may drive.)   

The car is simple enough for her to drive. (She can drive it.)

The driving test is easy enough for her to pass. (She can pass it.)

 

complex (adj.) – having several parts, complicated
complemented – completed

complement:  elements required by the verb: object, indirect object, predicative complement

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negatives

Indirectly stating minimum and maximum

 

 

 

Negatives

NOT TOO / ENOUGH

The degree adverbs not too and enough express about the same thing: something is adequate or meets requirements.

MEETS WHAT IS DESIRED

Jill is not too young to drive.

Jill is old enough to drive.

The car isn't too complex to drive.

The car is simple enough to drive. 

The driving test isn't too difficult for her to pass

The driving test is easy enough for her to pass.

NOT ENOUGH / TOO

The degree adverbs not enough and too express about the same thing: something is inadequate or does not meet requirements.

DOES NOT MEET WHAT IS DESIRED

Jill isn't old enough to drive

Jill is too young to drive.

The car isn't simple enough to drive.

The car is too complex to drive. 

The driving test isn't easy enough for her to pass

The driving test is too difficult for her to pass.

 

adequate (adj.) – sufficient, meets requirements

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much Too / Far Too

Qualifying Degree

 

 

 

Much / Far Too + Adjective

MUCH / FAR TOO + ADJECTIVE

Much too or far too expresses a highly excessive degree.

People drive much too fast to be safe. (highly excessive)

People drive far too fast to be safe.

Jill is much too smart to text while driving.  (highly excessive)

Jill is far too smart to text while driving. 

BARELY + ADJECTIVE + ENOUGH

Barely… enough expresses "sufficient by a small amount and no more". Almost… enough expresses "insufficient by a small amount".

Jill was driving barely fast enough to go the speed limit. (she was)

Jill was driving almost fast enough to go the speed limit. (she wasn't)

JIll is barely tall enough to reach the gas pedals.  (she is)

JIll is almost tall enough to reach the gas pedals. (she isn't)

 

 

 

 

Too Many / Much + Noun

TOO MANY + COUNT NOUN

Use too many before a count noun for an unacceptable, excessive amount. An infinitive clause is optional.

People use too many plastic bags. (excessive)

People use so many plastic bags. (a lot)

People drive too many large cars. (excessive)

People drive so many large cars.   (a lot)

TOO MUCH + NONCOUNT NOUN

Use too much before a noncount noun for an unacceptable, excessive amount.

People use too much fuel.  (excessive)

People use so much fuel.  (a lot)

People spend too much time in traffic  (excessive)

People spend so much time in traffic.  (a lot)

 

Also see: Much, More & Far Much More 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*Your wife is too beautiful.
("too" alone means excessive; too beautiful = unnatural)

*Your baby is beautiful enough.
("enough" alone means barely acceptable; tolerable) 

People drive too much fast on the streets.

SOLUTION

Your wife is very beautiful. 
(BUT: This clothing is too beautiful to wear while working.)

Your baby is very beautiful. 
Your baby is beautiful enough to be in a commercial. (It requires explanation.)

People drive too fast   (adjective)

People drive much too fast on the streets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grammar Notes

Traditional and Linguistic Description

Advanced

 

 

 

TRADITIONAL DESCRIPTION LINGUISTIC DESCRIPTION

Too and enough (Azar 15-3)

In the speaker's mind, the use of too implies a negative result.

(a) too heavy – impossible to lift

(b) strong enough – possible to lift

 

 

too… + infinitive (Swan 598.5-6, 187.6-7 )

We can use an infinitive structure after too + adjective / adverb.

He's too old to work. / He's too young to work.    

 

We can also use an infinitive structure after too much/many

There is too much work to do. / Their are too many jobs to do

 

The infinitive may include a subject which is introduced by for.

There is too much work for me to do. 

The radio is small enough for you to put it in your pocket.  (omit object pronoun) (187.7)

 

Adjuncts–degree (Huddleston 724)   too and very modify adjectives and adverbs rather than verbs.

He is too hurried to notice it.  [adj.]

He  passes too hurriedly to notice it.   [adv.]

*He too hurries to notice it.    [v.]

 

too, enough, sufficient, or sufficiently  licenses an indirect complement — an infinitival (Huddleston 14 §8.4)

It is too late [ to go out now].

It is too late [for you to go out now].

It is late enough [for you to go out now].

 

It is sufficiently late [for you to go out now].

 

 

Polarity (Huddleston 9 §4.1)   "negatively-oriented polarity -sensitive items" (NPIs)

too  

This porridge is too hot to eat. This porridge is too cold too eat. This porridge is just right.  *This porridge it too right.

 

Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Title

 

 

Complete the sentence.

  1. Select the response from the list that best completes the sentence. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "Check" or the "Check 1-15" button.

 

1.
The baby is to reach the gum balls.

2.
The baby isn't tall enough the gum balls.

3.
baby can't reach gumballsThe baby tall enough to get a gum ball.

4.
Santa Claus isn't to fit down the chimney.

5.
Santa Claus can't get down chimneySanta Claus too fat to fit down the chimney.

6.
The mouse is too slow  the cheese.

7.
Mouse can't get the cheeseThe mouse  fast enough to get the cheese.

8.
The gymnast is strong enough 28 pull-ups.

9.
Man doing pull upsThe gymnast is  to do 200 pull-ups.

10.
The bull is   to hurt the matador.

11.
Bull licking toreadorThe bull  aggressive enough to hurt the matador.

12.
boy raising hand in classThe student is  to answer the question.

13.
dog holding  flowersA chameleon is  interesting to watch.

14.
sun setting over islandThe island  beautiful to believe.

15.
smiley faceI am   happy.