barely falls short

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Senior Member
Ukrainian & Russian
As a result, most-shared lists have a powerful ability to shape public discourse. If an article about financial reform happens to make the list, while one about environmental reform barely falls short, that initially small difference in interest can quickly become magnified. As more people see and share the article about financial reform, citizens may become convinced that financial reform deserves more governmental attention than environmental reform, even if the financial issue is mild and the environmental issue severe.
(Contagious; J. Berger)

Would you be so kind as to tell me whether there is a synonym which you could substitute for 'barely' in this particular case (leaving the sentence otherwise intact)?

  • Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    while one about environmental reform barely falls short,

    Although it is not an expression that I would use, I think the writer means 'falls short by a small amount'.

    Normally, I would use barely when something is just positively OVER the borderline, not below it.

    eg I got on the train with barely two minutes to spare (before it departed).
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