“Sufficient” vs. “Enough” – Difference & Meaning (+Examples)

With how vast the English language is, we can’t help but have overlapping words. And synonyms can be a real headache, especially in determining which word is more appropriate to use in a given context. Like, is ‘sufficient’ better, or is ‘enough’ more appropriate? Well, let’s explore and see.

What Is The Difference Between ‘Sufficient’ And ‘Enough?’

‘Sufficient’ and ‘enough’ are synonymous in meaning which is having an amount of something that is as much as needed or necessary. The difference between the two is more in forms and technical usages. ‘Enough’ can be an adverb or a determiner, while ‘sufficient’ is used as an adjective only.

sufficient vs enough

‘Sufficient’ and ‘enough’ both mean having an amount of something that is as needed or as necessary in a situation. However, there are a few technicalities that make one more appropriate than the other in a given situation.

First, ‘enough’ usually talks more about amounts of physical things while ‘sufficient’ is used, for example, to say ‘sufficient talent.’ Take a look at the example below.

  • She has sufficient skills to lead this project.
  • She has enough skills to lead this project.

While both phrases are grammatically correct, saying ‘sufficient skills’ seems more comfortable to speak in this context, as we talk about the person’s amount of skills.

On the other hand, instead of saying ‘she has enough skills,’ we can say the alternative below.

  • She is skilled enough to lead this project.

This is another difference between ‘sufficient’ and ‘enough.’ ‘Enough’ is also sometimes used as an adverb to describe that an action has been done or is done to the needed extent. Look at the example below.

  • She is skilled sufficiently to lead this project.

As an adverb, ‘sufficient’ becomes ‘sufficiently.’ So, unlike ‘enough,’ we do not use ‘sufficient’ itself as an adverb. Instead, we have to transform it to ‘sufficiently.’

What Does ‘Sufficient’ Mean?

‘Sufficient’ means having enough amount of something necessary or needed for a given purpose. We use ‘sufficient’ as an adjective, and we use it to describe amounts of both physical and non-physical things. So, we can say ‘sufficient space,’ ‘sufficient skills,’ and the like.

‘Sufficient’ is an adjective used mostly as a technical term and in a more formal context. However, it is still flexible as it applies to both physical and non-physical nouns. To say ‘sufficient stocks’ and ‘sufficient talent’ both work.

However, the word ‘sufficient’ only works as an adjective in any context. As a verb, it takes on the form ‘suffice,’ while as an adverb, it takes on the form ‘sufficiently.’ So, ‘sufficient’ is used as an adjective solely.

Below are more examples of using ‘sufficient’ in a sentence.

  1. I don’t have sufficient talent to lead this surgery.
  2. We have sufficient supply to last until the end of this month.
  3. There wasn’t sufficient evidence to proclaim him guilty.
  4. The catering will be sufficient for the whole staff.
  5. There has been a sufficient rise in the sales this month.
  6. She has sufficient skills to present and report to the CEO.
  7. Will this much preparation be sufficient for the test?

What Does ‘Enough’ Mean?

‘Enough’ means having as much as necessary of something. We use ‘enough’ as an adjective, an adverb, a determiner, an exclamation, and even a pronoun. While it generally means having as much as necessary, as an exclamation, it usually means having more than expected or wanted.

‘Enough’ is a versatile word that is applicable for both formal and informal contexts and is used more comfortably in daily conversations. As an adjective or an adverb, it means having something as much as necessary, or to the necessary degree. Take a look at these examples below.

  • There is enough food on the table for all of us.
  • The water just warmed hot enough for the coffee.

However, as a pronoun, a determiner, and an exclamation, ‘enough’ can mean totally different. It can mean having more than what one wanted or expected. Informally, it could mean wanting someone to stop because something has become too much. Take a look at the examples below.

  • I already have enough work to do. I can’t take another one.
  • Enough already! You’re starting to annoy me.

In the examples above, it is clear that ‘enough’ is used differently from ‘enough’ which means having a sufficient amount of something. The way ‘enough’ is used in the examples above is acceptable in informal contexts.

Below are more examples of using ‘enough’ in a sentence.

  1. I’ve eaten enough. I’m really full.
  2. Did you get enough sleep last night?
  3. Do we have enough food for everyone?
  4. I’ve heard enough. Please keep quiet now.
  5. Thirty volunteers per area should be enough for the event.
  6. I don’t think she’s skilled enough to take the lead.
  7. Weirdly enough, I didn’t see her anywhere today.

Is ‘Sufficient Enough’ Redundant?

‘Sufficient enough’ is redundant because ‘sufficient’ and ‘enough’ are synonymous and they both mean the same thing. It’s like saying ‘sufficient sufficient’ or ‘enough enough.’ So, we should pick one between the two words and say ‘sufficient’ solely or ‘enough’ only. ‘Sufficient enough’ is not appropriate in whatever context.

Is ‘Sufficient’ Formal?

‘Sufficient’ is a formal word, and it is also a more technical term and synonym for ‘enough.’ We usually hear ‘synonym’ in formal contexts like office meetings and the like. Though some people also use the word in daily conversations, ‘sufficient’ is considered formal and technical.

Does ‘Suffice’ And ‘Sufficient’ Mean The Same?

‘Suffice’ and ‘sufficient’ mean the same and they are also of the same root, just different forms. ‘Suffice’ is in the verb form, while ‘sufficient’ is in the adjective form. However, both mean the same, which is having an amount of something, enough as deemed necessary.

Take a look at the two examples below.

  • Five tables shall suffice for all of us.
  • Five tables are sufficient for all of us.

In the two sentences above, ‘suffice’ is used as a verb while ‘sufficient’ is used as an adjective. However, both mean the same that the five tables are enough or are adequate to sit all of the people.

What Does ‘Adequate’ Mean Compared To ‘Sufficient’ And ‘Enough?’

‘Adequate’ is synonymous with ‘enough’ and ‘sufficient’ in terms of meaning that there is enough amount of something as necessary or needed. However, ‘adequate’ has different implications, especially in terms of evaluation. ‘Adequate’ can also mean good enough but not excellent. This is different, especially from what ‘sufficient’ implies.

Take a look at the examples below.

  • The examinee had an adequate exam score.
  • The examinee had a sufficient exam score.

In the sentences above, ‘adequate’ seems to have a more negative connotation that may imply that the examinee passed but did not really excel. ‘Sufficient,’ on the other hand, does not make that implication and simply expresses that the examinee did good enough.

‘Sufficient’ And ‘Enough’ Synonyms

Below are synonyms of ‘sufficient’ and ‘enough.’

  • Adequate
  • Satisfactory
  • Ample
  • Suitable
  • Acceptable (amount)