Use of “hard” and “hardly”

Hard and hardly are often confused

A lot of words in English vocabulary are very similar, but have different meanings that you need to understand if you really want to learn English well.

The problem with HARDLY is that it looks like an adverb ( for example; quickly, differently, slowly) formed from an adjective. But hardly is not the adverb of hard.

The definition of hardly is:

with great difficulty, almost not, just

  • I could hardly hear him speaking, he should have used a microphone
  • Mike had hardly walked through the front door when the phone rang

HARD can be both an adjective and an adverb

Examples as an adjective:

  • Diamonds are extremely hard stones
  • The basketball trainer is very hard if you miss the rebound you have to do 20 push-ups

Examples as adverbs:

  • Tom worked very hard to make his business profitable
  • The little boy held his father’s hand hard, he didn’t want to lose him

For more English expressions go to Vocabulary INDEX