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barely

英語を勉強している方のためのフォーラムです。練習のために英語の文章を投稿してもかまわなく、英語の文法・語彙に関する質問をしてもけっこうです。

barely

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 05.22.2008 8:30 pm

Simple question:

"I ran as hard as I could, and I barely missed the train."

Did you get on the train, or miss it?
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Re: barely

Postby fielle » Thu 05.22.2008 8:52 pm

I think missed, with the feeling of watching the train pull away at the the very minute you get there.

Otherwise it means the same thing as "I ran as hard as I could, and I barely caught the train." But I think this is something people could and would argue over.
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Re: barely

Postby chikara » Thu 05.22.2008 9:30 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Simple question:

"I ran as hard as I could, and I barely missed the train."

Did you get on the train, or miss it?

Odd turn of phrase but I would say you missed the train as "barely" and "just" are interchangeable.

just adj ...... 11. by a narrow margin; barely; it just missed the mark.
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Re: barely

Postby becki_kanou » Thu 05.22.2008 9:42 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:Simple question:

"I ran as hard as I could, and I barely missed the train."

Did you get on the train, or miss it?


I wouldn't use this phrasing myself, but reading it I would be inclined to say that the person missed the train. However if someone actually said it to me, I would proabably judge by their tone and intonation; ie: Do they sound disappointed?: probably missed the train. Do they sound relieved?: probably caught the train.
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Re: barely

Postby coco » Thu 05.22.2008 10:37 pm

Thank you Yudan-san, for showing the sentence. It is very useful and interesting for English learners. :)

If the sentence is "I ran as hard as I could, and I barely missed the train derailment accident.", it seems that a speaker could escape from the accident.
So in the case of your sentence, I would think the speaker unfortunately missed the train.

But I would ask the speaker "you missed the train?", before I say "That's too bad". (If I could correctly get what s/he said.)
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Re: barely

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Thu 05.22.2008 11:11 pm

OK, so far everyone seems to be agreeing with me. There was a debate in a class I have between several native speakers of English about whether or not you missed the train. To me, "I barely missed the train" means you missed it without any ambiguity.

One problem seems to be this:
"I barely missed the train at all this year." (Means that most of the time you caught the train, and only missed a couple of times)

"I barely missed class this semester" (I went to most classes and only missed a few)
"I barely missed class today's class" (I almost came to class but did not come)

Perhaps that kind of sentence confuses some people? I'm not sure.

(Some people use "hardly" instead, but this can only be used for the extended time period use:
I hardly missed class this semester
*I hardly missed today's class
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Re: barely

Postby Wakannai » Thu 05.22.2008 11:23 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:OK, so far everyone seems to be agreeing with me. There was a debate in a class I have between several native speakers of English about whether or not you missed the train. To me, "I barely missed the train" means you missed it without any ambiguity.


Yea, I find it completely lacking in ambiguity myself.
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Re: barely

Postby coco » Thu 05.22.2008 11:56 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:One problem seems to be this:
"I barely missed the train at all this year." (Means that most of the time you caught the train, and only missed a couple of times)

"I barely missed class this semester" (I went to most classes and only missed a few)
"I barely missed class today's class" (I almost came to class but did not come)

Perhaps that kind of sentence confuses some people? I'm not sure.


Image barely
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Re: barely

Postby AJBryant » Thu 05.22.2008 11:56 pm

Ditto.

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Re: barely

Postby Sairana » Thu 05.22.2008 11:59 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:OK, so far everyone seems to be agreeing with me. There was a debate in a class I have between several native speakers of English about whether or not you missed the train. To me, "I barely missed the train" means you missed it without any ambiguity.


In THIS sentence it's referencing a sliver of time. The word/phrase which follows "barely" gives the clue whether that sliver of time leaned toward a favorable or an unfavorable outcome for a single instance.

"I barely missed the train at all this year." (Means that most of the time you caught the train, and only missed a couple of times)

"I barely missed class this semester" (I went to most classes and only missed a few)

This one references a quantity of multiple occurrences/repetitions of the same action. Barely is a quantifier, preceding that which happened the least out of a greater whole number. I'd use "scarcely" as a synonym here. This would be in contrast to "mostly" if you change your sentence to, "I mostly attended class this semester."

"I barely missed class today's class" (I almost came to class but did not come)


I think this one is CLOSEST in meaning to the train example, except it sounds strange to me. Using "barely" tends to indicate to me the same... nuance as a "near miss". Something uncontrollable was influencing the outcome, and it could go well or poorly. If someone said that to me, I'd ask the speaker "Why? / What happened? / So why didn't you come?" because I'd assume that something unfavorable yet urgent had prevented their attendance.
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Re: barely

Postby Gundaetiapo » Fri 05.23.2008 12:21 am

1a: "I barely got 5 questions correct on the test."
1b: "I got barely 5 questions correct on the test."

How many questions did I get correct?

Spoiler:
5. Slightly more than 5 is possible.

Spoiler:
5. Slightly more than 5 is possible.
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Re: barely

Postby becki_kanou » Fri 05.23.2008 2:47 am

coco wrote:
Imagebarely


cocoさん、同感です。
そうだ、嬉しいんだ、生きる喜び!
例え胸の傷が痛んでも。
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Re: barely

Postby chikara » Fri 05.23.2008 3:06 am

Gundaetiapo wrote:1a: "I barely got 5 questions correct on the test."
1b: "I got barely 5 questions correct on the test."

How many questions did I get correct? ....

5 and only 5, and to me the nuance of "barely" in that context is that you consider you were fortunate to get those correct. Personally I wouldn't use "barely" in that context. In a correct/incorrect or true/false situation you either got 5 or you didn't.

barely adv 1. only; just; no more than; she is barely sixteen
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Re: barely

Postby spin13 » Fri 05.23.2008 5:48 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:"I barely missed today's class" (I almost came to class but did not come)

While I found little ambiguity with most of your other sentences nor do I take any qualms with them, I cannot agree with the meaning you have assigned to this one. With the intended meaning of 'miss' in this sentence, I would rephrase it as, "I went to today's class but it had just finished." I still see 'barely' as being temporal rather than spatial, reflecting an error in timing rather than a lack of arrival. Regardless, I do think that "I barely missed today's class" sounds terribly awkward and would use the interchangeable 'just' instead of 'barely'.

I do see ambiguity in this sentence, though with the word 'miss', the possible meaning being to "to feel the lack or loss of". I could see this sentence, with the right tone and context, meaning "I feel little to no regret for having not gone to class today." Of course, this could be further clarified and reinforced with something like 'at all', such as "I barely missed class at all today".

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Re: barely

Postby Wakannai » Fri 05.23.2008 6:07 am

I really don't see the problem with barely. Basically, it's only an indication of degree, sorta like hodo. The sentence has the same positive/negative meaning with barely as without.

I barely missed the bus. I missed the bus.
I barely caught the bus. I caught the bus.
"I barely missed class today's class" (I almost came to class but did not come)

Perhaps that kind of sentence confuses some people? I'm not sure.


Punctuation would help with the confusion. I barely missed class, today's class. Personally, it's hard to imagine a situation where you could barely miss a class. Simply not coming doesn't qualify for barely. Saying barely means some effort was made, but circumstances or something prevented you. So I almost came to class, but could not come on time to get credit/be allowed in. Or I came to class, but arrived too late. If someone told me this, I'd lean towards the latter interpretation. Since people would normally say, couldn't make it to class when they couldn't make it to class.
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