It’s one of my favorite words, an antidote to perfectionism, envy, or feelings of inadequacy. There’s comfort in the mantra, “I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.”
Enough is deliciously versatile, equally expressive of satisfaction or impatience. “Enough already! That's enough!” It can emphasize the word it follows (“sure enough,” “fair enough”) or weaken it (“good enough but not great”).
Writers face questions of “enough” all the time. How much backstory is enough to give readers context without pulling them out of the action? How serious a flaw is enough to make a character relatable without losing readers’ sympathy? How many rounds of revision are enough before you send work off to a client, agent, or editor?
8/5/2019 08:17:19 am
Wonderful insights! Thank you.
8/5/2019 10:16:05 pm
As my professor at Xavier University Earl Kronenberger used to say, “Enough is enough is enough.” (Apologies to Gertrude Stein)
8/6/2019 07:48:26 am
I have always found the English language fascinating. I feel for those who are learning English as a foreign language. I find the word "pretty" very interesting. 'That's a pretty dog.' 'That is an ugly dog.' 'That dog is pretty ugly.'
And you come up with delightful instances of the peculiarities of our language, Walter. Lovely to hear from you! Your "pretty ugly" dog brings to mind the pair of expressions "awful pretty" and "pretty awful," which have long intrigued me. I had a friend years ago who was helping a Finnish student, here on an exchange program, get a better handle on our language. The student asked, "What does 'take out" mean?" My friend had to stop and think. We came up with at least ten or twelve distinct meanings, from deletion to dating to unbraiding hair to a type of restaurant service.
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I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.