I read a Cambridge advanced grammar in use and there's one line says We can use sufficiently before adjectives to express a similar meaning to enough. Sufficiently is often preferred in more formal contexts: She didn't play sufficiently well to qualify. (or...well enough to qualify.) I'm confused that well is an adverb so why do they say that we can use sufficiently before adjectives ? (I know that well could be an adjective which means healthy but it has nothing to do with this context.)

Thanks in advance


"Sufficiently" can be used before (some) adjectives and adverbs. I think it's true that as a general rule, if "sufficiently" can be used before any particular adjective, it can also be used before the adverb derived from that adjective. (You can't use "sufficiently" before certain words that are traditionally categorized as "adverbs" but that have "special" behavior, such as very, always, just in contexts like "just behind the door", or various other words.)

"She didn't play sufficiently well to qualify" is fine, but you're right that "well" is an adverb here. You could see "sufficiently" used before an adjective in a sentence like "She was not sufficiently well to go to the competition" or "The quality of her playing was not sufficiently good for her to qualify."

  • The apple was not sufficiently sweet. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Oct 13 '18 at 6:11
  • It should be added for clarity that the strict answer to the original question, Is “well” an adjective? is Yes it can be, but it isn't here as it has a separate meaning of healthy. – David Robinson Oct 13 '18 at 13:17

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