From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishscarcelyscarce‧ly /ˈskeəsli $ ˈsker-/ ●●○ adverb 🔊 🔊 1JUST/ALMOST NOTalmost not or almost none at all syn hardly 🔊 The city had scarcely changed in 20 years. 🔊 The country had scarcely any industry. 🔊 He scarcely ever left the region.can/could scarcely do something 🔊 It was getting dark and she could scarcely see in front of her.scarcely a day/year/moment etc 🔊 Scarcely a day goes by when I don’t think of him.2JUST/A MOMENT AGOonly a moment ago syn hardly, barely 🔊 He had scarcely sat down when there was a knock at the door.3CERTAINLY/DEFINITELY#definitely not or almost certainly not syn hardly 🔊 Early March is scarcely the time of year for sailing.GRAMMAR: Word order• Scarcely usually comes before a main verb: She scarcely said a word.• Scarcely comes after the first auxiliary verb: I can scarcely believe he said that.✗Don’t say: I scarcely can believe he said that.• Scarcely usually comes after the verb ‘be’ when it is used in simple tenses such as ‘is’ or ‘was’: I was scarcely aware of the noise.• You can use scarcely at the beginning of a sentence before an auxiliary, to emphasize that one thing happens very soon after another thing: Scarcely had they left the station than the train stopped.
Examples from the Corpus
scarcely• We've seen scarcely a drop of rain for over six months.• There can scarcely be any doubt that Sullivan is guilty.• Mutualdeference could scarcely be carried farther.• It can scarcely be imagined that he would have opposed the Philadelphia Museum's immensely well-conceived plan.• I have scarcely been myself since and I almost hate the sight of a gun.• He awoke, and it seemed that he had scarcely closed his eyes.• It was like strikinggold or falling rapturously in love: he possessedsecretknowledge that his Germantown friends could scarcely imagine.• I scarcelynotice that my feet are cold and wet.• They sat at one of the marble-topped tables and ordered coffee from a boredwaitress who scarcelyspared them a glance.• They were scarcely two hundred yardsdistant; yet such was the gloom that they could not be clearly distinguished.scarcely a day/year/moment etc• He was scarcely a year older than her, but proud like a fully grown man and immensely considerate.• Matthew had been at the Plaza for a week now, with scarcely a moment to call his own.