Too, Enough and Very

Expressing Sufficiency, Insufficiency, and Excess

Enough expresses sufficiency; it shows there is as much as needed and there isn’t any more need:

    • There are enough shoes.
    • The house is big enough for our family.

Enough suggests a positive feeling about the situation.

  • Not enough expresses insufficiency; it shows there is less than necessary or desired.
    • There is not enough flour to bake this cake. (I want more flour.)
    • The bathroom is not big enough (I want a bigger bathroom.)

Not enough suggests a negative feeling about the situation.

  • Too expresses excess (more than needed) or insufficiency (less than needed) depending on the word that follows.

In both situations too suggests a negative feeling about the situation:

    • The price is too high. (EXCESS: The price is higher than I want to pay.)
    • The bed is too small. (INSUFFICIENCY: (It is less than I want, I want something bigger.)
    • This tea is too cold.
    • He talks too quickly.
    • He is too young to drive.

How to Use Enough, Not Enough, and Too


    • Enough follows adjectives, adverbs, and verbs:
      • This house is big enough. This house is not big enough.
      • He speaks well enough. He does not speak well enough.
      • We have heard enough. We have not heard enough.
      • She drank enough. She did not drink enough.
    • Enough go in front of nouns:
      • We have enough information. We do not have enough information.
      • There are enough visitors inside. There are not enough visitors inside.
    • Enough can be used with an adjective, adverb, verb, or noun followed by an infinitive.Adjective + infinitive:
      • She is old enough to drive.
    • Adverb + infinitive:
      • They word hard enough to earn a promotion.
    • Verb + infinitive:
      • We saved enough to buy a house.
    • Noun + infinitive:
      • I have enough ingredients to make a cake.
  • Too
    • Too goes before an adjectives and adverbs:
      • She is too short.
      • They run too slowly.
    • Too + adjective is often followed by an infinitive:
      • The soup is too hot to drink.
      • We were too tired to stay up until midnight.
    • Too + adjective is often followed by for + noun / pronoun + infinitive:
      • The book was too hard for him to read.
      • He spoke too fast for the children to follow his instructions.

Too Much and Too Many / Too Little and Too Few

  • Too + much is used with noun-countable nouns:
    • Jason has too much work.
  • Too + many is used with countable nouns:
    • There are too many animals in this house.

Too much and too many express excess, and suggest a negative feeling about the situation.

  • Too + little is used with non-count nouns:
    • There is too little time to finish this.
  • Too + few is used with count nouns:
    • The meeting was cancelled because too few members are able to join.
    Too few and too little express insufficiency, and therefore suggest a negative feeling about the situation.

Too versus Very

Very adds emphasis

Too shows that something is excessive or more than enough

  • I will see you on Thursday. This writing is small.
  • I will see you on Thursday. This writing is very small. (but I can read it)
  • I will see you on Thursday. This writing is too small. (I cannot read it)