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Very vs. Too vs. Enough

Grammar.com articles are very good… Mm... maybe they are good enough for all of us to master English, aren’t they? Oh wait! I have read a few. They are too good. These sentences are different ways of expressing love for Grammar.com articles. But there is a subtle difference between each of them. Let us discuss the same in this article!

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  Ramya Shankar  —  Grammar Tips
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Too

The too with the double o implies more than necessary, desirable or required. For example,

·         There is too much sugar in this tea. (more than I want or need)

·         This lady talks too much (more than necessary)

·         They both spend too much time together (more than what’s required or is considered normal)

·         Her words seem too good to be true.

Too is an adverb and defines the extent. Too can also be used in the context of something additional. For example

·         I too want to come along for the movie.

·         Are you a teacher too?

·         I went to their house too.

Essentially it means ‘also’.

Very

Very can be used as an adverb and adjective both, based on the context.

As an adverb, very indicates a high degree of something. For example

·         I like your dress very much.

·         He is very friendly.

·         The photos are very beautiful.

Note that as an adverb, very is adding some emphasis to the adjectives like friendly and beautiful. You can just say ‘he is friendly’ but when you say ‘very’ it gives more emphasis and intensifies the meaning.   

He is friendly. (normal – he is not rude or arrogant)

He is very friendly. (intense – he is quite good; he talks nicely and freely)

As an adjective, very can be used to emphasise on the exact identity of a person or thing. For example

·         The very thought of going to a hill station made me feel sick.

·         These were his very words for you; do you still want to believe him?

·         We are opening our very own shop for authentic Indian food.

·         This is the very beginning of a new phase.

Very vs. Too vs. Enough

Before we compare very and too, let us very quickly do away with ‘enough’ too!

Enough

Yet another adverb, enough is used to imply ‘’to the required extent” or quantity. For example

·         This amount is enough for me to buy a new laptop. (same as what I require)

·         There is enough water in the fridge already. (sufficient)

·         I have had enough with this guy; I don’t want to patch up any more. (as much as was needed)

·         He is old enough to take care of himself.

Coming to the differences, consider the following sentences –

“I gave you enough chances to prove yourself”

“I gave you too many chances to prove yourself”

The first one means – I gave you chances that were in my capacity – that is whatever I could give, I gave.

The second one means – I gave you more chances than I was supposed to give, probably that caused me some inconvenience and I have gone out of my way to do that. I can’t give you any more chances beyond this point.

You have read enough. Go and sleep now.

You have read too much. Go and sleep now.

Read the above sentences and think about the difference between both.

Now, let us come to very….

“I love her very much.” – a lot.

“I love her too much.” – more than I can imagine or beyond what is needed.

You see the difference? Very just intensifies the meaning to some extent, while too takes it to the highest degree possible.

The final note

“My manager is very friendly.” – a nice, warm person with whom we can strike a casual conversation.

“My manager is too friendly.” – can be taken in a negative sense – more friendly than you want him/her to be!

“My manager is friendly enough.” – Just the right amount of friendliness that you would want in a person. (You can go and talk about your appraisal without fear.)

This example compares all the three together so that the concept stays in your mind forever. Remember that all these 3 adverbs define a certain degree or extent to something or someone (mostly adjectives). The extent varies from enough to very to too.

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