9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[skairs-lee] /ˈskɛərs li/
barely; hardly; not quite:
The light is so dim we can scarcely see.
definitely not:
This is scarcely the time to raise such questions.
probably not:
You could scarcely have chosen better.
Origin of scarcely
1250-1300; Middle English; see scarce, -ly
Can be confused
barely, hardly, scarcely (see synonym study at hardly)
Synonym Study
1. See hardly.
Usage note
1. See hardly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for scarcely
  • But there was no outpouring of fear, scarcely even a whimper.
  • One could scarcely imagine a subject more important than ethics for.
  • The future for many other lenders looks scarcely brighter.
  • In those days, that number scarcely made a dent in the large grizzly population.
  • Perhaps that is because life without the ability to feel is scarcely imaginable.
  • If you want to know about the life and habitat of a woolly mammoth, there is scarcely a better place to look than in its dung.
  • But the way they are presenting themselves to buyers could scarcely be further apart.
  • The pace of new hiring crashed during the recession and has scarcely recovered since.
  • Until now the region had scarcely been explored because of its remoteness and depth.
  • Although the world of autism research is expanding, horizons for many of those with the condition have scarcely changed.
British Dictionary definitions for scarcely


hardly at all; only just
(often ironic) probably not or definitely not: that is scarcely justification for your actions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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