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what's the meaning of "sufficient time"

does it mean "in the long run" of "in overtime"?

Bulgarians could not even get a permit to open up a school in areas where the population had joined the Exar- chate, but given sufficient time, Bulgarian schools would prevail because they offered better education

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  • I associate "in overtime" which sports, which seems to be completely off here. But yes, in the long run seems a plausible alternative to given sufficient time in this sentence.
    – oerkelens
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 12:47
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    A more common phrase for "given sufficient time" is "given enough time", i.e. "if the situation continues long enough". Commented May 15, 2014 at 13:10

2 Answers 2

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"Sufficient" means "enough", "an adequate amount". So "sufficient time" means the amount of time you need to get a certain job or task done. "Given sufficient time" is a fairly common phrase used when you want to say that something may be difficult, but if the person attempting the task is allowed to work on it for long enough they should be able to succeed. Like, "I don't know the answer to that question, but given sufficient time I could look it up." Or, "We can't get that done today, but given sufficient time -- probably about a week -- we could complete that for you."

"Overtime" is a little different. "Overtime" is used in sports to mean that a game is allowed to go beyond the usual time limits, usually because there is a tie score and so we keep playing until one team or the other scores and can be declared the winner. In business, "overtime" means hours worked over your regular hours, usually 40 hours per week. In the U.S., at least, many workers are paid 150% of their normal hourly wages for each hour of overtime.

"In the long run" is a phrase used to distinguish the long-term effect of something from short-term effects. Like, "Dieting and exercise may seem painful now, but in the long run you will be healthier if you keep it up." Or, "In the short term the stock market has many ups and down, but in the long run it always go up." It is often used to express the inevitably of some final outcome, like JK Galbraith's famous retort to criticisms of the long term effects of his ideas: "In the long run, we are all dead."

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In OP's context, all these expressions mean pretty much the same thing...

given time (or given sufficient or enough time)
over time (note - two separate words)
eventually
sooner or later
in the end
in the long run

They're invariably used in contexts asserting that some condition which currently isn't true will become so at some point in the future (but probably not soon).

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