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Can we use 'barely' or 'plainly' in this sentence?

The chairman needn't even count the number of people who just raised their hands, as they were ______________ the majority.

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The chairman needn't even count the number of people who just raised their hands, as they were _____ the majority.

It would be odd to use "barely" here, as that would mean that there was only a slight majority, which conflicts with the assertion that the chairman does not need to count. If there seemed to be barely a majority, it would be a good time to count, as perhaps the impression of a majority is incorrect.

"Plainly the majority" works better, as in "it is plain to see that there is a majority." This shows that there is an obvious majority. However, using "plainly" to mean "obviously" is not as common today (at least in most of the United States). More common words would be "clearly," "obviously," or "undoubtedly."

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