I have this sentence:

  • It is too hot to handle.

How do I rewrite it using enough in place of too? Is the following right? Is there some other possibility?

  • It is not cold enough to handle.

What is the grammar behind this conversion? Is the antonym always present in the enough version?

PS: I learnt this a long time back at school in English grammar and remember only vaguely.

  • Sultan, welcome! I edited your question to replace "learnt" with "learned". I have done this because it seems that "learnt" is a rare past form of "learn"; "learned" is more common, instead.
    – user114
    Commented Apr 3, 2013 at 21:11
  • 4
    @Carlo_R.: I edited it back! There's nothing wrong with learnt. Okay - it's always been less popular with Americans, but ELL has no remit to encourage US usage. And usage might be declining a bit in the UK, but it's still perfectly acceptable and current. There are plenty of questions (and answers) with glaring spelling/punctuation errors that never get fixed, so I don't think it's right to foist what's basically just a "personal preference" on others like that. Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 1:13

2 Answers 2


Your suggested sentence is definitely a good alternative. The only suggestion I might make, depending on the context, is that it may sound a bit more natural to use "cool" instead of "cold":

It is not cool enough to handle.

I say this because when you refer to something that is currently hot but is losing heat over time, you say the item is "cooling". Thus, it makes sense to say something like:

The pie on the counter is still cooling; it's not cool enough to handle.

Cool is more readily interpreted as "within an acceptable range" than the somewhat more extreme cold, which, in many cases, suggests that the object being described is cooler than you would prefer. Cool is (almost?) never used to mean "too cold", but cold certainly is, so cool works a little better when talking about an acceptable range of temperature, especially when contrasted with "too hot".


In addition, again depending on context, you may want to consider adding the word "yet", as in:

It is not cool enough to handle yet.

This works especially well to imply that while it is still too hot right now, it will soon be cool enough to handle.

  • All the examples you give make sense to me and I wouldn't be confused to hear them. In my experience, I don't think I am very likely to call the pie just cool, though, unless I mean great. I think I usually talk about whether it has cooled off or cooled down yet: "it hasn't cooled off enough to handle".
    – aedia λ
    Commented Apr 4, 2013 at 22:51
  • Those are fine too. And yeah, I am sure no one would be confused, per say, by the use of "cold", it's just quite a bit less common than "cool" in my daily experience, and, to me, it makes more intuitive sense, but cold definitely works just as well. Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 2:43

The rules about the intensifiers, too and enough, are not too difficult to master once learnt.

too + adjective

  • "The questions are too easy, this test is boring," he said.
  • She was upset because the test had been too advanced for her level.

auxiliary verb + not + verb/adjective + enough

  • "The questions aren't difficult enough, this test is boring," he said.
  • She was upset because the test hadn't been easy enough for her to pass.
  • She didn't study (hard) enough and so she failed the test.
  • They hadn't bought her enough books.

too + many + countable noun

too + much + uncountable noun

  • There are too many questions in this test.
  • There's too much noise in my house for me to study.

auxiliary verb + not + enough + countable and uncountable noun

  • There aren't enough questions in this test.
  • There isn't enough silence in my house for me to study.
  • She didn't have enough time to study.

enough + countable/uncountable noun or adjective

And to create positive sentence so, it's not always true that "enough" follows "not".

  • She answered enough questions correctly to narrowly pass the test.
  • There is enough time and silence for her to revise.
  • He is qualified enough to apply for university.

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