barely any

  • mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    We have barely enough money for food is best, as if we were to say...just enough money...
    There is a definite difference between "we have barely any money for food" and "we have barely enough money for food."

    In Flavio's sentence, we have enough money for food, "though just barely," meaning "with barely nothing left over."

    In cheshire's sentence, we have (or more to the point "had") enough money for, say, the rent, but have barely anything left for food.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I agree with mgarizona. Also, "we have barely enough" and "we have just enough" may have nearly the same meaning, but "barely enough" emphasizes the scarcity of money. It could imply that some compromises on the type of food might have to be made. "Just enough money for food" implies, to my way of thinking, that you can buy whatever food you had already planned to buy, but there will be no spare change afterward.
     

    cheshire

    Senior Member
    Catholic (Cat-holic, not Catholic)
    (1) We have just enough money for food.
    (2) We have barely enough money for food.
    (3) We have barely any money for food.
    (4) We have hardly any money for food.
    Thanks, everybody. Could anyone please put them in the order of affordability?

    (1) > (2) > (3) > (4)?:confused:

    mgarizona, what does "with barely nothing left over" mean?
     

    mgarizona

    Senior Member
    US - American English
    (1) We have just enough money for food.​

    (2) We have barely enough money for food.​

    (3) We have barely any money for food.​

    (4) We have hardly any money for food.​
    Thanks, everybody. Could anyone please put them in the order of affordability?

    (1) > (2) > (3) > (4)?:confused:

    mgarizona, what does "with barely nothing left over" mean?
    With 'barely enough money' you have enough money and a tiny bit more, so it's a larger amount than 'just enough money,' which is enough money and nothing more.

    "Barely any' and 'hardly any' are basically equal, meaning more than 'none' but less than 'enough.' If I had to pick I would say that 'barely any money' suggests slightly more dire straits than 'hardly any money. So how about

    2 > 1 > 4 > 3

    As for "barely nothing left" it means the same thing "barely anything left" means, only in sloppier usage.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    Hmm... I would place them in this order:

    1 > 2> (3=4)

    To me, "hardly any" and "barely any" are equivalents, while "just enough" is more than "barely enough".

    "We can't go on vacation... we have just enough to pay our bills" means to me that we can cover all bills but have nothing left over as spending money.

    "We can't go on vacation... we have barely enough to pay our bills" means that we may not even be able to cover our bills. We might have to let one be delinquent, or pay the minimum on something rather than the normal amount we pay.

    I'm not saying that these are the global meanings of the words, but they are the meanings I would hear if they were used. I checked with my wife, and she had the same impression of the difference between "just" and "barely", which gives you a grand total of two who think they mean this. :)
     
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