appropriate/suitable and adequate/sufficient/enough
Mendes Campos from Brazil writes:
Portuguese, we have one word, appropriado, which is used
to talk about manners and something that is fitted to a purpose.
word when we refer to social rules and behaviour and when we talk
about what one should, for example, wear under this or when we talk
about weather conditions. I understand that in English you have
three different words with different usages, namely appropriate,
suitable and adequate. Could you please explain and illustrate
the differences in use of these three words in English?
appropriate ~ suitable
and suitable are both qualitative adjectives - i.e. they
describe the quality of something - and are very similar in meaning
and usage. As you suggest, they carry the meaning of 'fitted, suited
to a purpose.' They are both placed as modifiers before nouns and
they are both used as complements after the verb be, although
appropriate is perhaps more commonly used in this way, especially
with the pronoun it. They are both used with the preposition
for and are often used with negative prefixes. The adjectival
form suitable (for) sometimes crops us in the verb format
suited (to). Study the following examples:
is inappropriate to make jokes at funerals.
was inappropriate for her to joke with the Queen in such
a light-hearted manner.
clothes she was wearing were quite unsuitable/inappropriate
for the cold weather.
this dress suit me? ~ Oh yes, it does. And it's very suitable/appropriate
for formal occasions.
is a very violent film and is considered unsuitable/inappropriate
for children to watch.
glad you praised him for that. It was an appropriate thing
is just not suited to/suitable for this type of work.
small flats are not really suitable for couples with young
children. It is unsuitable/inappropriate accommodation.
~ sufficient ~ enough
sufficient and enough are slightly different in meaning.
If something is adequate, there is enough of it, but
only just enough. If there is sufficient quantity of something,
this suggests that there is as much of it as you need. Usage of
these adjectives often denotes quantity rather than quality, whereas
appropriate and suitable suggest a qualitative response
to something. Study the following examples:
pay was adequate, but it certainly wasn't generous. The
rate of pay - ?.50 an hour - was barely adequate to raise
a family on.
answer to the question was adequate but it wasn't developed
sufficiently to gain high marks.
Prime Minister gave an inadequate reply to the journalist's
action taken to combat the spread of malaria was quite inadequate.
were not enough seats for all the guests. The supply of seats
was quite inadequate.
was easily enough food for every one. There was a sufficient
amount of food.
was insufficient evidence to convict him of house-breaking.