barely at all

samiarn

Member
arabic
Hello my friends ,
in this sentence (They can differ barely at all) is there a new meaning for (barely) ?
what is the whole meaning of the sentence like in here please ?
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I'd say "They barely differ". They don't differ much.

    There're several older threads on the word. Take a look at this one for instance (it refers to a few others): barely / hardly
     

    samiarn

    Member
    arabic
    Thank you very much my friend Barque , so the adding of (at all) to barely does not change its meaning ? zz
    I mean : barely = barley at all ? zz
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    It sounds a little odd to add "at all" to "barely" in that sentence. "Barely" itself means "by a very small degree".

    You could probably say (if applicable): They barely differ, if at all. That means - If there's any difference, it's very slight.
     

    samiarn

    Member
    arabic
    That is very nice explanation , thanks a lot , I am not sure how to translate it into Arabic , but I will consider it as exaggeration of (barely) which means (They are almost not different) ,,hopefully it is right meaning
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Neither barely nor barely at all is well-defined. Is it 1cm? 7mm? 3mm? Even for a specific speaker and a specific object, I do not think barely at all means 3mm where barely means 7mm. Instead, I think that (for most speakers) at all does not change the meaning of barely. It is simply style: some people always say "barely", and others always say "barely at all".

    In AE, it is very common to add words that repeat meaning, rather than change meaning. The longer version is said more often than the short one:

    We have no money ==> We have no money at all
    We are out of cookiess == We are completely out of cookies
    I disagree ==> I disagree completely / I totally disagree
    I just got here ==> I just got here this minute
    That is untrue ==> That is complely untrue
    Let's talk this over ==> Let's take some time and talk this over
     

    samiarn

    Member
    arabic
    Thank you very much mister dojibear , this is excellent and perfect and helps me a lot in understanding precisely :)
     
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