hardly

hardly
hard|ly [ `hardli ] adverb ***
Hardly is a negative word and is often used with words like any and ever, but it should not be used with other negative words:
We hardly ever do anything interesting.
Hardly comes before the main verb of a sentence, but when there is a modal or auxiliary verb, hardly usually comes after it:
I can hardly breathe.
You have hardly done any work.
In stories and in formal English, hardly is sometimes used at the beginning of a sentence before an auxiliary verb:
Hardly had she begun to speak, when there was a shout from the back of the hall.
Hardly is not related to the word hard.
1. ) used for saying that something is almost not true or almost does not happen at all:
He hardly spoke except to say hello.
Alice was so busy she hardly noticed the days pass by.
can hardly do something: We could hardly afford to pay the rent.
hardly...at all: My old high school has hardly changed at all.
a ) used before words such as ever, any, anyone, or anything to mean almost never, almost none, almost no one, etc.:
There was hardly any wind, just a slight breeze.
You've hardly eaten anything.
Hardly anyone believed the fugitives' story.
It hardly ever rains here in the summer.
b ) hardly a day goes by/passes without something (doing something) used for saying that something happens almost every day:
Hardly a day goes by without some company reporting losses.
c ) used for saying that something is very little more or less than something:
The region's wine industry is hardly more than 40 years old.
New Haven is hardly an hour by train.
2. ) used for saying that something had only just happened when something else happened:
She had hardly arrived when she started talking about leaving again.
hardly had...than/when: Hardly had the men started training than they were sent into battle.
3. ) used when you think it is obvious that something is not true, not possible, not surprising, etc.:
It's hardly surprising that people are starting to complain.
David's almost twenty-four hardly a child.
This is hardly the time to start discussing finances.
you can hardly expect/blame etc. (=it would not be reasonable to expect, blame, etc.): You can hardly expect Myra to welcome you back after the way you've treated her.
4. ) BRITISH SPOKEN used for answering no, when you think someone has suggested something that is impossible

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hardly — Hard ly (h[aum]rd l[y^]), adv. [AS. heardlice. See {Hard}.] [1913 Webster] 1. In a hard or difficult manner; with difficulty. [1913 Webster] Recovering hardly what he lost before. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. Unwillingly; grudgingly. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hardly — (adv.) c.1200, in a hard manner, with great exertion or effort, from O.E. heardlic stern, severe, harsh; bold, warlike (see HARD (Cf. hard) + LY (Cf. ly) (2)). Hence assuredly, certainly (early 14c.). Main modern sense of barely, just (1540s)… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hardly — [härd′lē] adv. [ME hardliche < OE heardlice] 1. Now Rare a) with effort or difficulty b) severely; harshly 2. only just; barely; scarcely: often used ironically or politely to mean “not quite,” or “not at all” [hardly the person to ask] 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • hardly — [adv] scarcely; with difficulty almost inconceivably, almost not, barely, by a hair, by no means, comparatively, detectably, faintly, gradually, imperceptibly, infrequently, just, little, no more than, not a bit, not at all, not by much, not… …   New thesaurus

  • hardly — ► ADVERB 1) scarcely; barely. 2) only with great difficulty. 3) no or not (suggesting surprise at or disagreement with a statement) …   English terms dictionary

  • hardly — adverb 1 almost not: I hadn t seen him for years but he had hardly changed at all. | can/could hardly do sth: The children were so excited they could hardly speak. | I can hardly believe it. | hardly anyone/anything (=almost no one or almost… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • hardly — hard|ly W2S2 [ˈha:dli US ˈha:rdli] adv 1.) almost not ▪ My parents divorced when I was six, and I hardly knew my father. ▪ The children were so excited they could hardly speak. ▪ I can hardly believe it. ▪ Hardly anyone (=almost no one) writes to …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hardly */*/*/ — UK [ˈhɑː(r)dlɪ] / US [ˈhɑrdlɪ] adverb Summary: Hardly is a negative word and is often used with words like any and ever , but it should not be used with other negative words: We hardly ever do anything interesting. Hardly comes before the main… …   English dictionary

  • hardly — [[t]hɑ͟ː(r)dli[/t]] ♦♦ 1) ADV BRD NEG: ADV before v, ADV group, oft ADV amount (emphasis) You use hardly to modify a statement when you want to emphasize that it is only a small amount or detail which makes it true, and that therefore it is best… …   English dictionary

  • hardly — 01. They [hardly] ever go out; maybe once a month at most. 02. I [hardly] recognized you with your new haircut. 03. My daughter can [hardly] remember Quebec City because she was very little when we lived there. 04. Your father [hardly] slept at… …   Grammatical examples in English

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