My dictionaries list both genug and genügend as sufficient, enough etc.

Are there any differences between the two other than one functions as a participle of genügen?

Additionally, are these two interchangeable?

  • @Em1 Nothing personal at all, just don't like having my posts edited when they certainly don't require it. I don't see how it affects anything.
    – Dustin
    Commented Aug 17, 2013 at 5:00
  • In German, capitalisation has a grammatical role, so you should not just capitalise a German word because it appears in a title. It becomes a different word, a non-existent one in this case.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 12:54
  • Neither one of genug and genügend is a participle of genügen. That would be genügt.
    – tofro
    Commented Apr 21, 2017 at 18:41

3 Answers 3


Broadly speaking, both words can be used as adjective but only genug can be used as adverb. Sharing their meaning and being interchangeable, they mean ausreichend, or hinreichend and can be translated with sufficient and enough.

I'd say that you can replace genügend with genug (almost) always but not vice versa. I think there's a slight tendency to use genügend when referring to an uncountable noun while people rather use genug when it's countable.

Er hat nicht genügend[=genug, ausreichend] Acht gegeben.

Ich habe noch genug[~viel] Arbeit vor mir. (genügend quite rare)

You cannot use genügend as adverb.

Ich habe genug gesehen. (not genügend)

Er ist alt genug. (not genügend)

You can place genug before and after a noun but genügend must precede the noun.

Er hatte Zeit genug um sich auf die Prüfung vorzubereiten.

Er hatte genug Zeit um sich auf die Prüfung vorzubereiten.

Er hatte genügend Zeit um sich auf die Prüfung vorzubereiten.

Er hatte ausreichend Zeit um sich auf die Prüfung vorzubereiten.

When you search the Internet you will find some notes that genug is a particle (namely Gradpartikel) and it's also used as indefinite pronoun (like some, many etc.).

Semantically speaking, that's correct but this is a finer point of language analyzing and does not help you to fully understand its usage at all.


The words have slight differences in meaning and usage, but are partly interchangeable to a given extent:

First of all "genügend" is used less often, because it is more part of literary language, and "genug" also part of colloquial language.

Independant from that, "genügend" is best translated as "sufficient" in the sense of "adequate", and often has a reference (enough wood to make fire, enough money to avoid starving). For me this is quite independant from countable vs. uncountable: "genügend Wasser (zum Schwimmen)", "genügend Spieler für zwei Mannschaften"

"genug" means "enough". It has kind of a second, more absolute meaning: not only sufficient, but really enough: ("Do you have enough?", "Now, it's enough!")

So, sometimes "genug" is stronger and can easier replace "genügend" than in the other direction.

Both can be used as an indefinite pronoun (as "some") (only- as mentioned before, "genügend" is used rarer, but generally):

Genügend Menschen sind für Naturschutz, dass dies ein Thema aller Parteien wurde.

Es gibt nicht genug Menschen, die sich im Naturschutz engagieren.

(In both cases, the words are interchangeable, but there is a semantic preference to use them as written.)

To make a point, I would say, and I think I speak about a majority of people here:

I verdiene genügend Geld, aber nicht genug.


genügend is also used as an Adverb. In fact, in german language, when genügend is in front of a noun, they consider it an adverb.


  • Mein Platz ist genügend. (genügend as Adjektiv predicative)
  • Ich habe genügend Platz (here genügend ist considered Adverb in German language and therefore no declination. In English we would see it as adjective)
  • Welcome to German.SE. I edited your post mainly for formatting, also kicked your "sorry". It would be nice to explain more from what the OP asked (difference genug-genügend) and if possible to add some links for further reading/ as source. Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 15:37
  • @ "Mein Platz ist genügend" sounds very unusual to me...
    – Nico
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 16:27
  • Sometimes it is difficult to only rely on how it 'sounds'. I once a while heard German speakers said something sounded right or not right but half of the time they did not have the right (according to German grammar) instinct.
    – user105071
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 12:00

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