Hardly / Barely

Adverbs - Lesson #7

"Hardly" and "barely" mean only just or almost not.

Take a look at some examples.
  • I hardly slept.
    (=I slept very little.)

  • We barely arrived on time.
    (=We were almost late.)

  • She hardly knows me.
    (=She doesn't know me very well.)

  • They will barely have enough money.
    (=They will almost not have enough money.)

  • He hardly pays attention in class.
    (=He doesn't really pay attention in class.)
When we use "hardly" like we did above, it has a completely different meaning than the adjective "hard" like "work hard" or "study hard". So, these sentences below are not correct.
  • She works hardly.
  • I study hardly for my English test.
"Hard" does not change when we use it as an adverb. So, the correct sentences would be the following.
  • She works hard.
  • I study hard for my English tests.
When we use "hardly" before an adjective, then it means "not at all".
  • It is hardly surprising.
    (=It is not surprising at all.)

  • She is hardly a good friend.
    (=She is not a good friend at all.)
Improve your English speaking and practice this English grammar by answering these questions and then try making your own sentences.

1. What do you hardly do?
2. What did you do a lot when you were young, but now you barely do?
3. What did you barely do last week?
4. What test did you barely pass?
5. When did you barely avoid an accident?