I am having a problem trying to fully understand the use of barely and hardly in the following sentences.
There were barely any women at the party.
There were hardly any women at the party.
There were scarcely any women at the party.
I understand that "scarcely" and "hardly" can be used interchangeably here. However, I'm not sure about barely.
Are those sentences correct? Let's say there was a party with 20 men and only 2 women. I generally would use hardly as the dictionary says it is often used with the word "any". I was asked a question if the word "barely" would be suitable in this context and I couldn't find a clear explanation.
I know the meaning of all those words but couldn't find an example that would compare their use in this particular context.
Can you please advise? Thank you! :)