"Around 10pm, I finally stopped drinking long enough to remember I had a car in a garage somewhere."

I can't understand the above sentence clearly, especially the meaning of long enough to in this case. Could you give me another expression or and example which has the similar meaning?

  • 1
    There's a slight ambiguity over exactly what long enough means in this exact context, but it makes no real difference. It could (in principle) mean I was previously so busy drinking I didn't have time to remember about the car. But in practice it means I stopped drinking for long enough to sober up and remember. Which I think is General Reference. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 2:02
  • 1
    If that's still not clear, note that long enough here means for a sufficiently long time [that I was able to do something]. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 2:05
  • 1
    (I've been speaking English long enough to say I think I can use it well enough to communicate! :) Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 2:19
  • @FumbleFingers Thanks to your nice replies, now I understand clearly it!
    – CyCee
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 2:27
  • Here's another free English lesson while you're here then! That should be "Thanks for your nice replies, now I understand it clearly!" I'm not sure if you can get in to English Language Learners while it's in "beta" - but if you can, go there. If you can't, bookmark it for later! Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 2:39

3 Answers 3


You asked for an example; here’s a classic.  The teacher gave an assignment to write an essay.  A student asked, “How long should it be?”  The teacher responded,

The same as a woman’s skirt –– long enough to cover the subject, but short enough to keep it interesting.

  • Short enough to keep it interesting...
    – user19341
    Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 4:26

The meaning of the phrase is actually

for [a] long enough [period] to . . .

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    There's a modal there, too: for [a period of time which is] long enough [for me to be able] to . . .. Commented Jan 25, 2013 at 3:17

In the original question, 'long enough' in this context refers to a period of time, though that isn't specified in minutes after 10pm, when the person had stopped drinking (and it's assumed alcohol is the beverage of choice here). This could mean they were drinking continuously until 10pm, when a break of just 10 minutes would be sufficient to say 'long enough', to give them time to think about where they'd parked the car.

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