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Expressing "enough" with "gou"

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In Chinese the word for "enough" is 够 (gòu). It also combines with other words and most often comes before verbs and adjectives, but there are a limited number of verbs that it can follow as well.

Affirmative Form

Structure

够 + Verb / Adj. + 了

The is not strictly required, but it adds a sense of emphasis.

Examples

In these examples, 够 (gòu) comes before verbs. You'll notice that who is doing the verb to what is normally just understood in context.

  • 我们 买 了 很 多 菜 ,Wǒmen mǎi le hěn duō cài, gòu chī le.We bought a lot of food. It's enough for us to eat.
  • 这些 纸 用 吗 ?Zhèxiē zhǐ gòu yòng ma?Is this paper enough for us to use?
  • 放心 吧 ,我 带 的 钱 花 。Fàngxīn ba, wǒ dài de qián gòu huā.Don't worry. I've brought enough money to spend.

When it comes before an adjective, 了 is needed at the end of the sentence.

  • 我 对 你 Wǒ duì nǐ gòu hǎo le.I've been good enough to you.
  • 别 抱怨 了 ,你 幸运 Bié bàoyuàn le, nǐ gòu xìngyùn le.Stop complaining. You've been lucky enough.

Negative Form

In the negative form, you're not going to need a 了 (le).

Structure

Subj. + 不 + 够 + Adj. / Verb

Note that 了 can't be used when it's negated.

Examples

  • 他 觉得 他 女朋友 不 够 漂亮 。Tā juéde tā nǚpéngyou bù gòu piàoliang.He thinks his girlfriend is not pretty enough.
  • 你 说 得 不 够 清楚 。Nǐ shuō de bù gòu qīngchǔ.You didn't speak clearly enough.
  • 这些 菜 不 够 吃 ,再 点 几 个 菜 。Zhèxiē cài bù gòu chī, zài diǎn jǐ gè cài.This food is not enough for us to eat. Let's order a few more dishes.
  • 这里 太 小 了 ,不 够 坐 。Zhèlǐ tài xiǎo le, bù gòu zuò.It's too cramped here. There's not enough room to sit.
  • 你 的 包 太 小 了,这些 东西 肯定 不 够 放 。Nǐ de bāo tài xiǎo le, zhème dōngxi kěndìng bù gòu fàng.Your bag is too small. There's definitely not enough room to hold this stuff.

Translations feel looser here, as the Chinese frequently omits the details about what's not enough for what. The verb and the context makes it clear enough.

Colloquial Saying

Literally, 够了 means "it's enough." When the speaker is getting sick of doing something or feeling fed up, 够了 can be applied after a limited number of verbs.

A few common examples:

  • 够 了shòu gòu le!I've had enough of it!
  • 天天 吃 外卖 ,我们 都 够 了Tiāntiān chī wàimài, wǒmen dōu chī gòu le.We eat take-out every day. We're sick of eating it.
  • 够 了 没有 ?wán gòu le méiyǒu?Are you done playing?

See also

Sources and further reading

Books