Confusing words: hard and hardly

Teach Taught Taught

tumblr_ls8iqtkbqK1qc9ailo1_500 The words ‘hard’ and ‘hardly’ get often mixed up. Some students think that  ‘hardly’ is the adverb for the adjective ‘hard’ but that’s not the case.

The adverb for the adjective ‘hard’ is simply ‘hard’. Have a look at these examples:

The exam was very hard. (adjective: hard=difficult)
I worked very hard to pass my exams. (adverb: to work hard= to put a lot of effort)


When used with words like ‘anything’, ‘anyone’ etc  ‘hardly’ means ‘almost nothing‘, ‘almost no one‘:
He hardly said anything at the meeting >> he almost said nothing at the meeting
Hardly anyone talked to me at the party >> almost no one talked to me

Notice that ‘anything’ and ‘anyone’ are used in the above examples because ‘hardly’ is a negative word and English doesn’t allow double negatives:

He hardly said nothing anything at the meeting

Generally speaking ‘hardly’

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