Quick answer
"Little" is an adjective which is often translated as "pequeño", and "scarcely" is an adverb which is often translated as "apenas". Learn more about the difference between "little" and "scarcely" below.
little(
lih
-
duhl
)
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (size)
a. pequeño
There's a little box outside.Hay una caja pequeña afuera.
b. chico
That car is too little for me.Ese coche es muy chico para mí.
c. chiquito
My niece's shoes are so little!¡Los zapatos de mi sobrina son tan chiquitos!
2. (younger)
a. menor
His little brother is a dentist.Su hermano menor es dentista.
b. pequeño
My little sister is two years younger than me.Mi hermana pequeña es dos años menor que yo.
3. (young)
a. pequeño
When I was little, I traveled a lot.Cuando era pequeño, viajaba mucho.
b. chico
Her kids are too little to go to the movies.Sus hijos son muy chicos como para ir al cine.
4. (not much)
a. poco
There was little milk left, so I bought more.Quedaba poca leche, así que compré más.
5. (trivial)
a. insignificante
Don't get so upset over such a little matter.No te alteres tanto por un asunto tan insignificante.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
6. (not much)
a. poco
The students who studied little were relieved that the test was so easy.Los alumnos que estudiaron poco estaban aliviados que el examen estuvo tan fácil.
7. (somewhat)
a. algo
I'm a little angry at you.Estoy algo enojado contigo.
b. un poco
It's a little cloudy.Está un poco nublado.
8. (not often)
a. poco
I go to that store very little.Voy a esa tienda muy poco.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
9. (small amount)
a. poco
We have little to celebrate at the moment.Hay poco que celebrar en estos momentos.
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scarcely
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (only just)
a. apenas
Edith had scarcely been in the shower for two minutes when the hot water stopped coming out.Edith llevaba apenas dos minutos en la ducha cuando dejó de salir agua caliente.
b.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Scarcely any house in the area has a swimming pool.Casi ninguna casa de la zona tiene piscina.
We scarcely knew what to make of it.No sabíamos qué pensar.
2. (rarely)
a. apenas
She lives alone, and entire days go by with her scarcely talking to anyone.Vive sola y pasan días enteros en los que apenas habla con nadie.
b.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I have scarcely ever seen her wearing no makeup.Rara vez la vi yo sin maquillaje.
We scarcely ever go to the beach these days because we're so busy.Casi nunca vamos a la playa estos días, porque es que estamos tan ocupados.
3. (not at all)
a. ni mucho menos
The painting in the hotel is scarcely what I would call art.El cuadro del hotel no es ni mucho menos lo que yo llamaría arte.
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