Enough vs. Plenty

Since it is a common question. Let us go through it.

"Enough" vs. "Plenty" in the English Grammar

What Are Their Differences?

We use 'plenty' and 'enough' a lot in English. So, it is important to know their meanings and functions. Mainly 'enough' means as much as wanted, while 'plenty' means enough or more than enough.
These two words are a little bit different in their grammatical functions.


What 'Enough' and 'Plenty' Mean

  • 'Enough':

means as much as it is necessary or as much as it is needed. When something is considered as enough it means we do not need any more of it.

We have enough food for all of us.

I think we struggled enough over this problem.

  • 'Plenty':

means enough or more than enough. So, it can refer to a larger amount compared with 'enough'.

We've got plenty of time let's think then act.

Students have plenty of opportunities in this school.

Grammatical Functions

  • 'Enough':

comes after another adverb or an adjective, or even after verbs as an adverb. As a pronoun, it is used without a noun directly after it. 'Enough' as a determiner comes before a noun whether plural countable or uncountable.

The runner was fast enough to win the race. → adverb

Enough is given to the court. Judges can decide easily. → pronoun

Here in this example 'enough' is used as a pronoun and it is obvious that we mean 'enough evidence'.

She has enough bottles to run the party. → determiner

'Enough ... (for) .... to ...'

It is common to use an infinitive after 'enough'. It raises a question: " When do we use the term 'for' before the infinitive? ". The answer is; If we need another subject before the infinitive 'for' is required. Check out the examples to be more clarified.

We have enough money to buy the house.

There is hardly enough time for them to get to know each other. The wedding is next Saturday.

  • 'Plenty':

As an adverb is used before an adjective. As a pronoun it means more than enough or enough. As you know, pronouns cannot be followed by a noun directly. However it might be rare for you, 'plenty' can be used as an uncountable noun, too.

"Here, drink some chocolate milk." "It is plenty; I am on a diet." → pronoun

They lived on a land of plenty back then. → noun

My uncle was plenty angry with my cousin. → adverb

'Plenty of' and 'Enough of'

'Plenty' can be followed by [of + noun]. The point is that 'enough' can be added to [of + determiner + noun]. Remember you can use enough as a determiner before nouns with no determiners or before pronouns.

Don’t go to the groceries we have plenty of jam.

They have plenty of houses, they are really rich.

She has taken up enough of his time.

Let's go home. I have seen enough of them.


  • 'Enough' and 'plenty':

As it was mentioned earlier, they are really close to each other based on their meanings. Actually, in some cases, they can mean exactly the same.

This a plenty huge progress for you.

This progress is huge enough for you.

  • 'Enough' and 'plenty':

both can be pronouns and adverbs. Remember, the rules of using them can be different, ut their word classes as pronouns and adverbs are the same. Do not forget that 'enough' can be a determiner and 'plenty' can be a noun, too.

Plenty of their plans rely on the company's profit. → pronoun

I have had enough of this pointless conversation. → pronoun

She has made enough excuses for her mistake. → determiner

In the time of plenty many wasted the sources. → noun

  • 'Enough' and 'plenty':

Both refers to a quantity. Enough is used to refer to a sufficient amount, while plenty can refer to a sufficient amount or even more.

We have enough spare rooms for the guests.

It will be ok if more guests are added up to us, we have plenty of rooms in here.

Do not go out to buy stuff. We have plenty to cook dinner.


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