Enough in Spanish is one of those words that seems un poquito elusive.
In English we use the word enough to signify a few things, and that will dictate the word you use in Spanish:
- The most common use is to express sufficient quantity of something. You either have enough gas to make it to work today or you don’t. If you don’t have enough gas, you better hope you have suficiente personal days to make up for your poor risk-taking calculations :). Yes, suficiente is the most common interpretation of the word enough in Spanish. Ex. Eh, jefe, voy a llegar tarde hoy…no tuve suficiente gasolina para llegar.
- Sometimes you want to describe MORE than enough in Spanish – but without any sort of negative connotation. In this case you’ll use bastante. Maybe you’re like me on road trips and you’re always telling your spouse that you have bastante gas to make it to the next exit. Ex. Tranquila mi amor. No te preocupes. Tenemos bastante gasolina…
- You’ve probably heard the word demasiado as well. This isn’t exactly enough in Spanish, it’s more along the lines of “too much”. It can have a negative connotation, but doesn’t have to. Your spouse can be demasiada ansiosa about your fuel levels, or you can be like Daryle Singletary and ain’t never had demasiada diversión.
- And then there’s the “THAT’S ENOUGH” meaning. If you’ve ever taken a road trip with children (or been a child on a road trip) you’ve certainly heard ¡BASTA! at some point. This is the “I’m fed up and the shenanigans need to end now or it’s going to get serious real fast” word. This is related to the word bastante above, and is the command form (in the tú subject) of the verb bastar which means “to be enough” or “to suffice”. When my children were younger and I would sight translate stories into Spanish for them at bedtime, ¡Basta ya! is how I would interpret the “Now stop!” line from Max when he wanted the wild rumpus to end (Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak).
- Of course you can say “that’s enough” without the exclamation points and all caps. Two words fit this use just fine so long as you pronounce them in normal non-emphatic tones. Ya technically means “already” in Spanish, but is used in many cases as a stand-alone word for enough. Basta is the same, pronounced calmly it communicates that you’re satisfied with what you have. Ex. Con eso basta basically communicates: “That’s enough, I don’t need anymore”.
The best ways to say enough is Spanish are:
- suficiente – enough
- bastante – more than enough
- bastar – to suffice
- ya – technically “already”, but works for “enough”.
Well, I think that’s suficiente for this post… Con eso basta, ¡hasta luego!