One-Point English Lesson: Hard Vs Hardly

Michael Uncategorized Leave a Comment

He can hardly believe it!

Hard and hardly can be confusing for a lot of students. Let’s have a look at these two words today!

Hard is an adjective and has the opposite meaning of “soft.”

  • A bagel has a hard crust and a soft inside.
  • If you don’t put that bread in a bag it will become hard.
  • Steel is harder that wood.

In addition, hard is used to mean “difficult” or “requiring a lot of effort.”

  • The final exam was harder than I expected.
  • Some people find it hard to used the subway in Tokyo.
  • She’s a good teacher, but sometimes she gives us hard questions to think about.

Hard is also used as an adverb and means, “using a lot of effort or with a lot of energy.” Hard generally comes after the verb.

  • He said he studied very hard to pass the exam.
  • We worked hard on the report and finally finished it on time.
  • It rained hard for two days.

Hardly is also an adverb but means “scarcely,” “barely,” and “slightly.” Hardly generally comes before the verb.

  • It hardly rained this summer, so the water supply is low.
  • The trains hardly come between midnight and 6:00am.
  • Because of the poor sound system, we could hardly hear the CEO when he gave his speech.

Thus, in a way, hardly can have the opposite meaning of hard, when used as an adverb. Compare these two sentences:

  • Jack worked hard on the project all day. Jack used a lot of effort.
  • Jack hardly worked on the project all day. Jack used very little effort.

Did you work hard on something today or were you hardly working? Leave a comment here and let me know!

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Thanks for studying today!