What does 'well enough' mean here? The OED says that it means 'to a reasonable degree' (and looking at the respective definitions of the two constituent words gives a similar meaning), but how can one know something 'to a reasonable degree'. Either one knows something, or one doesn't, right?

"I know well enough that you have become a fool."


1 Answer 1


Your statement that, "either one knows something, or one doesn't" is not correct. When it comes to individual pieces of data in isolate this might be true— for example, I could say that "I know that the temperature outside right now is 25℃," but even this bit of information can be known with more or less certainty. How well do I trust my iPhone for reporting this information? Do I know where the measurement was taken, and could it vary slightly from where I am? What's the error bar on that measurement, is it really 25.1℃? And so forth.

When it comes to more complex pieces of knowledge, the variation becomes even more pronounced. What does it mean to be a fool? If you say that a fool acts against common sense, what is common sense? If we agree on common sense, how sure am I that you, specifically, have violated it? If I'm sure you have acted against common sense, how sure am I that this is a habitual thing for you, or that it was a simple one-time mistake?

All of these things form a "gradient" of knowledge. You can know something with different levels of certainty and definition. You can know a person with differing levels of familiarity. You can know an attribute with different levels of precision.

The sentence in question:

"I know well enough that you have become a fool."

This says that on the gradient of knowledge I have about you, even considering that it's impossible to know another person 100% perfectly, I have enough knowledge to confidently say that you have become a fool. You weren't a fool, but are a fool now.

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