Are both of the following sentences grammatically correct? If so, do they have the same meaning?

(1) "I don't know the mechanics of that process enough to opine on it."

(2) "I don't know the mechanics of that process well enough to opine on it."

My instinct when speaking is to use "well enough," but based on its definition, using "enough" alone appears to be synonymous, as both "enough" and "well" here appear to be addressing sufficiency.

  • The first sounds like the person has no knowledge about the subject. The second sounds like they are not experienced enough. – Ali Caglayan Oct 28 '14 at 14:56
  • Thanks. I see the first sentence as having insufficient knowledge, as opposed to no knowledge, because I would expect someone without any knowledge to say, "I don't know the mechanics of that process, so I can't opine on it." My response is based on the OED definition of "enough," which is "sufficient in quantity or number." The existence of something is different than the sufficiency of that thing. – yapishkahilt Oct 28 '14 at 15:08
  • I don't see how my question has anything to do with the question regarding "fair enough" or "funny enough," aside from the word "enough" appearing in both. I know the definition of "enough" in both example sentences in my question. I'm asking a usage question regarding whether the commonly used modifier "well" is redundant, as it, too, goes to sufficiency, and if not, how its inclusion changes the meaning of what's said. – yapishkahilt Oct 28 '14 at 15:31
  • This question may have an answer here english.stackexchange.com/questions/81706/… – Centaurus Oct 28 '14 at 15:43

Both sentences are grammatically correct. However, from my perspective, they have slightly different connotations.

I don't know the mechanics of that process enough to opine on it.

This sentence implies, to me, that you don't know much, if at all, about the mechanics of that process. The focus of the sentence is about not knowing.

I don't know the mechanics of that process well enough to opine on it.

This sentence implies that you do know at least something about the mechanics of the process, but you don't know them well enough to make an educated comment. Well becomes the focus here.

In general, I would say that the second sentence "sounds" better because it's a slightly more graceful dodge. But both are acceptable, and I doubt people would consciously make that big of a deal about either.

  • As a lawyer, I can tell you that you may be surprised what lawyers make big deals about. Your response is quite helpful, thanks. – yapishkahilt Oct 28 '14 at 16:57

Enough is not the focus in the second case, well is, so it makes a huge difference.

Use whichever you mean to say.

  • 1
    Can you elaborate? Since both "well" and "enough" go to sufficiency, I don't understand the distinction you're drawing. – yapishkahilt Oct 28 '14 at 15:13

"I don't know the mechanics of that process enough to opine on it." "I don't know the mechanics of that process well enough to opine on it."

Both these sentences have more than one issue. The phrase "don't know" means don't identify and can refer to a topic or people. "Mechanics" can refer to a group of people who repair items or to logistics. "Enough" or "well enough" is redundant to the initial wording "don't know"

So the sentence could be stating you don't know the individuals well enough or you don't know the process.

Consider using a better word for "know" (again know means identify) to reflect your intended meaning.

"I don't have detailed understanding" "I'm not fully proficient" "I don't recall" Next what is the subject that you have problem with "The process" or is it "the mechanics" (a group of people, activities, logistics, methods, implications, impacts, or engineering.)

"I don't fully understand the process logistics to opine on it." Is a concise response.

I found that words like mechanics may be used in certain industries in one country or another but are not universally interpreted the same. Thus I avoid these ambiguous word choices.

  • 1
    Much of this answer seems quite tangential to the main question of "well enough" vs "enough". – Rand al'Thor Sep 2 '16 at 0:13
  • Unlike both versions given in the question, I would classify your suggested improvement, “I don't fully understand the process to opine on it” as being ungrammatical. It looks like a botched sentence with words missing, intended to be perhaps, “I don't have to fully understand the process to opine on it”. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 2 '16 at 0:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.