just enough

barrysondakh

Senior Member
Indonesian; Chinese
Hi,
What does "just enough" in the below excerpt mean? Does it mean 'so many'?

.... you have just enough Democrats who are in bed with big business that it makes it much harder for progressive Democrats to follow the agenda that the country needs.

 
  • ポール

    Member
    United Kingdom, English
    Hi,
    What does "just enough" in the below excerpt mean? Does it mean 'so many'?
    I think the literal meaning is similar to 'so many', but the nuance is different. They are implying that there are not many Democrats in bed with big business (but, nonetheless, that there are enough to cause problems). If it was 'so many' it would imply that there are a large number of Democrats in bed with big business.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    I'm not a native but, unless I'm missing something, there's something decidedly dodgy about this sentence.

    I would write either
    you have just enough Democrats who are in bed with big business to make it much harder for progressive Democrats to follow the agenda that the country needs.

    or

    you have so many Democrats who are in bed with big business that it makes it much harder for progressive Democrats to follow the agenda that the country needs.
    (but that would slightly change the meaning).

    The "you have" (instead of there are) at the beginning makes me suspect this is oral speech. If that is the case, then it would explain the incorrection (provided I'm right and it really is one).
    In any case, "just enough" means "the number of Democrats needed" to make it harder etc....

    Wait for the natives anyway.
    EDIT: I can see you didn't have to wait long.:)
     
    Last edited:

    Kumpel

    Senior Member
    British English
    to have enough sth. to do sth

    I don't have enough money to buy a cat.

    Just, in this instance, indicates that it does reach the required level, but only by a small amount - it only just reaches the required level.

    I have just enough money to buy a cat.
    The cat costs £50, I have £51.
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    I don't think that it makes is any more incorrect than to make it here. You can use the infinitive when its subject is the same as either the subject of the sentence, for example:

    (1) John has just enough gas to drive home. <-- John is the one "driving" home

    or the thing that is "just enough," for example:

    (2) John has just enough gas to get him home. <-- the gas is the one "getting" him home

    But when something else is the subject, you have to use either a periphrastic "that"-clause, for example:

    (3) John has just enough gas that the emergency light is still off. <-- the light, not John or the gas, is the one that "is" off

    or an infinitive with a "for"-phrase, introducing the subject of the infinitive:

    (4) John has just enough gas for the emergency light to still be off.

    Nonetheless, even when the subject of the infinitive is the subject of the sentence or the thing that is "just enough," you can still use structures (3) and (4):

    (1') John has just enough gas that he can drive home.
    (1'') John has just enough gas for him to drive home.

    (2') John has just enough gas that it'll get him home.
    (2'') John has just enough gas for it to get him home. <-- this one sounds admittedly kind of weird in this context, but the structure is perfectly fine

    But in any case, in the sentence we have here, the grammatical subject of "make" is not "you" or "Democrats," i.e. the particular sense of the construction is not "you make it harder..." or even "the Democrats in bed with big business make it harder," but rather "the fact that you have just enough of such Democrats makes it harder." So in a way, changing it to the infinitive changes the grammar - it changes the subject of "make" from "the fact that you have just enough Democrats in bed with big business" to "the Democrats in bed with big business."

    Semantically speaking, there's no real difference. The idea is the same. But grammatically there's a small difference. But yeah, either way is fine for me.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    Thanks, Brian. I stand corrected then.
    Fact is I'd never heard or seen any construction such as (3), (1') or (2') before.
    And your explanation about the subject of the infinitive makes perfect sense.
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    It's probably used more in spoken than in written language, but it's pretty common when you use modal verbs since they don't have infinitive forms. For example: I have just enough bread left that each person should be able to make a sandwich.

    This means I'm pretty sure that each person will be able to make a sandwich with the bread that's left, but I'm not 100% sure, so I cannot say: I have just enough bread left for each person to (be able to) make a sandwich.

    And there's no infinitive form of "should," so I can't say *...for each person to should be able to...

    Of course, you could change up the sentence and say: I think/I'm pretty sure that I have just enough bread left for each person to (be able to) make a sandwich.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm not a native but, unless I'm missing something, there's something decidedly dodgy about this sentence.
    I hear what brian says - but I agree with you, J-M: it looks strange to me too.

    to have just enough something to {verb}:tick:
    to have just enough something that it {verb}:confused:
     

    brian

    Senior Member
    AmE (New Orleans)
    Okay, how about this:

    (5) I studied just enough that I passed the exam by one point.
    (6) I studied just enough to pass the exam by one point.

    These mean two different things to me. (5) means that the amount I studied was just enough to result in my passing the exam by one point, whereas (6) means that I studied only as much as I needed in order to pass the exam by one point. In other words, (5) emphasizes the result of my (luckily) studying just enough, though I was probably shooting for a better grade (but I'm happy anyway), whereas (6) means I didn't care about getting a better grade...I only wanted to pass.

    [I'll admit that (6) can have the meaning of (5), so actually it's ambiguous for me. Nonetheless, the structures are different.]

    Edit: I just realized these examples are a different structure: to {verb} (have {verbed}) just enough to/that {verb} vs. to have just enough something to/that {verb}. Maybe it has to do with the verb to have in the latter, since that usually doesn't allow for a result clause. If you change that verb, however, the argument still stands:

    (7) I bought just enough bread that each person had their own sandwich.
    (8) I bought just enough bread for each person to have their own sandwich.

    Again, they are different. (7) means the result was that each person had their own sandwich (I was lucky), whereas (8) means I intended to only buy that much (I knew what I was doing, it wasn't luck).

    So if you agree with the above, then it probably comes down to whether or not in your dialect have can introduce a result clause (with "that"). Personally, it sounds good to me, but it probably differs from person to person.
     
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    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think that, in both of your pairs of examples, I'd only use the option with "to + infinitive", brian.

    So, for example, if I wanted to make my accurate bread-buying accidental, I'd say something like "By some miracle, I bought just enough bread for each person to have their own sandwich".

    You may be right that there are person-to-person differences here. Or maybe there's an an AmE/BrE difference, as both LV4-26 and I speak BrE? Barrysondakh's source is here - I see the original speaker was an American journalist.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I think that, in both of your pairs of examples, I'd only use the option with "to + infinitive", brian.

    So, for example, if I wanted to make my accurate bread-buying accidental, I'd say something like "By some miracle, I bought just enough bread for each person to have their own sandwich".

    You may be right that there are person-to-person differences here. Or maybe there's an an AmE/BrE difference, as both LV4-26 and I speak BrE? Barrysondakh's source is here - I see the original speaker was an American journalist.

    "To" simply does not work in this sentence in my opinion:

    you have just enough Democrats who are in bed with big business that it to makes it much harder for progressive Democrats to follow the agenda that the country needs.

    "That" works for me; "to" does not. Not only does it sound wrong to me, it alters the sense of the sentence.
     

    LV4-26

    Senior Member
    "That" works for me; "to" does not. Not only does it sound wrong to me, it alters the sense of the sentence.
    At this point, I find it important to specify that, even with "to" instead of "that", I'd immediately understand the sentence for what it means. In other words, it would be clear to me that the subject of "make" is impersonal, (i.e., that it isn't "the Democrats").
     
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