scarce

Listen:
UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈskɛərs/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/skɛrs/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(skârs)


Inflections of 'scarce' (adjadjective: Describes a noun or pronoun--for example, "a tall girl," "an interesting book," "a big house."):
scarcer
adj comparative
scarcest
adj superlative
WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
scarce - scarcely
Both scarce and scarcely are fairly formal words. They have completely different meanings.
‘scarce’
Scarce is an adjective. If something is scarce, very little of it is available.
Good quality land is scarce.
The desert is a place where water is scarce.
‘rare’
Don't use ‘scarce’ to say that something is not common, and is therefore interesting. Use rare.
This flower is so rare that few botanists have ever seen it.
Deepak's hobby is collecting rare books.
‘scarcely’
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.
The smell was so bad I could scarcely bear it.
The woman was scarcely able to walk.
Be careful
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’.
I can scarcely remember what we ate.
He could scarcely be blamed for his reaction.
Scarcely is sometimes used to emphasize that one thing happened immediately after another.
We had scarcely arrived when it was time to leave again.
Be careful
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.
Scarcely had she put down the receiver when the phone rang again.
Scarcely were the words spoken when he began to regret them.
Broad negatives
Advertisements
Advertisements

Report an inappropriate ad.