Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.
Both scarce and scarcely are fairly formal words. They have completely different meanings.
Scarce is an adjective. If something is scarce, very little of it is available.
Don't use 'scarce' to say that something is not common, and is therefore interesting. Use rare.
Scarcely is an adverb that means the same as 'hardly'. If something is scarcely true, it is almost not true. If something scarcely exists, it almost does not exist.
Don't use 'not' with scarcely. Don't say, for example, 'I do not scarcely have enough money to live'. Say 'I scarcely have enough money to live'.
If you use an auxiliary verb or modal with scarcely, put the auxiliary verb or modal first. Say, for example, 'I could scarcely stand'. Don't say 'I scarcely could stand'.
Scarcely is sometimes used to emphasize that one thing happened immediately after another.
Use when, not 'than', in sentences like these. Don't say, for example, 'We had scarcely arrived than it was time to leave again'.
In literary writing, scarcely is sometimes put at the beginning of a sentence, followed by had or the verb be and the subject.
|Adv.||1.||scarcely - only a very short time before; "they could barely hear the speaker"; "we hardly knew them"; "just missed being hit"; "had scarcely rung the bell when the door flew open"; "would have scarce arrived before she would have found some excuse to leave"- W.B.Yeats|
|2.||scarcely - almost not; "he hardly ever goes fishing"; "he was hardly more than sixteen years old"; "they scarcely ever used the emergency generator"|
scarcely[ˈskɛəslɪ] ADV (= barely) → apenas
scarcely anybody → casi nadie
I can scarcely believe it → apenas puedo creerlo → casi no puedo creerlo
scarcely ever → casi nunca
I scarcely know what to say → no sé qué puedo decir
he was scarcely more than a boy → era apenas un niño
we could scarcely refuse → ¿cómo podíamos negarnos? → difícilmente podíamos negarnos
it is scarcely surprising that → no es ni mucho menos sorprendente que ...
he's scarcely what you'd call a cordon bleu chef (iro) → no es precisamente un maestro de la cocina
the car had scarcely drawn to a halt when → apenas se había parado el coche cuando ...
I scarcely knew him → Je le connaissais à peine.
I can scarcely believe it → J'arrive à peine à le croire.
scarcely anybody → pratiquement personne
He was scarcely more than a child → Il n'était guère plus qu'un enfant.
He could scarcely have had more difficult opponents → Il n'aurait guère pu trouver des adversaires plus difficiles.
The defender's first two goals since arriving from Caen could scarcely have been better timed → Les deux premiers buts que le défenseur a inscrits depuis son arrivée de Caen n'auraient guère pu tomber mieux.