adjective: adequate

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Today I want to write about the adjective, “adequate”. It has two meanings:

1. to be enough. This meaning is neutral in tone. For example:

Did you have adequate time to finish the test?

We don’t need to order more paper now. Our current supply is adequate.

This city doesn’t have an adequate number of doctors and nurses. If this doesn’t change, we’ll have a health care crisis.

2. to be good enough but not special in any way. This meaning is negative in tone. For example:

The service in that hotel was just adequate. I don’t think I want to stay there again.

My Spanish skills are adequate for ordering food in a restaurant and asking for directions, but I can’t have a real conversation in Spanish.

My boss told me today that my work performance is only adequate. I’m really upset right now!

This word is often used in business and more formal situations. In more casual conversations, we would use the word “enough” for the first definition, and we would use the word “ok” for the second definition.

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