As part of my preparation for a video lesson on enough and too, I looked at different dictionary entries for these words. The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English reminded me of conversational expressions we have with enough and too. Would it be worth including these uses? The lengthy list of 14 entries under “enough” convinced me. Yes, I should address some common uses. A presentation limited to a comparison between structures such as high enough and too high would leave students unprepared to encounter other common uses of these words, such as “Enough said.” and “Enough is enough.”
The comparison between [adjective/ adverb + enough] and [too + adjective/ adverb] is appropriate for lower level students, but even upper level students would benefit from a review of those structures. Once differences in meaning and form are made clear, upper level students could face the next challenge: understanding conversational uses of too and enough and learning how to use them appropriately.
Step 1 – Create a set of one-liners that includes conversational uses of too and enough. Suggestions:
- You’re way too forgiving. I’d be furious.
- Sadly, it ended all too soon.
- He has nowhere near enough money to buy that car.
- I’ve had enough of her criticism!
- Enough said. I can’t believe she’d wear that to a wedding.
- He can’t get enough of it. He’s a huge fan.
- Why do that? Life is difficult enough.
- Would you be kind enough to agree?
- Sure enough, he did just that.
- Fair enough. I agree.
- Oddly enough, I wasn’t angry.
- Enough is enough. I think we should take action and try to fix this problem.
Step 2 – Present and explain the uses of too and enough that you used in the set of one-liners. Leave your notes on the board for reference. Note: You can present a dozen uses, but I wouldn’t recommend presenting all of them at one time. Present 5-6 as one set and then play the game (Step 3) based on the first set. Present the remaining 5-6 expressions as the second set and play the game again. If your class is large, a set of one-liners can include repeats. (Example: Oddly enough, I wasn’t angry. / Strangely enough, no one noticed. / Curiouly enough, he never got caught.)
Step 3 – Invite students to the front of the classroom two at a time. One of the students will draw a slip of paper from the set of one-liners and show it to his or her partner. The pair has one minute to talk spontaneously. Their goal is to include the target line in their dialog. If you feel an additional prompt is needed, you can suggest a topic. Pairs may be able to achieve their goal in as few as two lines. It’s not a matter of length, but appropriate use of the target line.
One-liner: You’re way too forgiving. I’d be furious.
Prompt: You’re discussing a recent argument with a boyfriend/ girlfriend.
Student A: “Did you have that talk with your boyfriend?’
Student B: “Yeah. He explained why he was so quiet and why he needed to be alone for a while.”
Student A: “We all need to be alone sometimes, but for a whole month? You’re way too forgiving. I’d be furious.”