1

I have a laptop bought five years ago, though it gets very slow and has many unnecessary programs running, it can still work.
How am I supposed to describe this?
Can I say "it can barely work"? Does that sound more like I can not live with it?

Edit:
Sorry for the ambiguity, but actually I'm looking for an expression that's more like "thought it has such problems, but I can still live with it".

  • That works. If you want to show less possibility for that to work, you can use other modals like may barely work or might barely work. – Alejandro Jan 16 '16 at 12:53
  • @Ustanak Thank you and sorry for the ambiguity, but how about actually I want to show more possibility for that to work? – dontloo Jan 16 '16 at 12:59
  • You can use despite being in no optimal conditions, it can barely work. – Alejandro Jan 16 '16 at 13:03
  • 1
    Actually, the suggestions embedded in your question are pretty good. For example, bearable can work. (Question: Do you like your laptop? Answer: No, not really. It's bearable. I can't wait to get a new one.) Same with I can live with it. (Question: Do you like your laptop? Answer: No, but I can live with it.) Those answers are very natural, understandable, idiomatic English. – J.R. Jan 16 '16 at 13:29
  • "Tolerable" is another possibility. – stangdon Jan 16 '16 at 15:02
1

'It can barely work' means that you almost cannot live with it. 'It can barely work' sounds to me worse than 'though it gets very slow and has many unnecessary programs running, it can still work'.

  • Thank you and sorry for the ambiguity, but how about I want to be sounded like emphasizing the fact "it can still work"? – dontloo Jan 16 '16 at 13:03
1

If you are trying to describe how poorly it performs:

It barely works

would be idiomatic.

However, "It can barely work" is not idiomatic.

With "can barely" you would need {something particular} as the complement.

It can barely render an image.

It can barely boot up.

It can barely open a spreadsheet.

The complement of "can barely" is {do something}, whereas "work" is more or less a synonym here for bare "do".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.