Hard and Hardly (adjectives and adverbs)

Are you working hard or hardly working? What’s the difference?
Learn how to use the words hard and hardly correctly and avoid a common mistake.

Click here to watch this video witha clickable transcript
Click here to see more grammar videos.
Click here to see more vocabulary videos.
Be careful with these words. If you use them wrongly, you might say the opposite of what you mean.
The adjective ‘hard’ has several different meanings. One meaning is solid and firm. Rocks are hard. A chair can be hard. Another meaning of ‘hard’ is difficult.

Crikey, this is hard. How many pieces are there?
A lot.

You’re starting a new career. It can be fun or it can be hard.

Tea or coffee?
I don’t know.
Oh come on.
It’s not a hard decision.
Errr tea. No coffee. No tea.

So things that are hard require a lot of thought or energy.

My that’s hard work. It takes so much time too. But that’s woman’s lot in life.

Hard work requires either physical strength or mental effort.
Now ‘hard’ is an adjective, but what about the adverb? That’s ‘hard’ too. The adjective and adverb forms are the same.
The adverb ‘hard’ means with energy or force.
It’s raining hard. It’s snowing hard. If we hit things hard it means we hit them with force.

And now in financial news the latest figures show that luxury car makers have been hit hard by the recession.

When we work hard, we work with energy. Students have to study hard to do well in school.

A man who’s willing to work, and I mean work hard, you show me a man like that and I’ll show you a guy who’s going places.

Now let’s look at another adverb: ‘hardly’. It has a very different meaning to ‘hard’. Hardly’ means almost not.

Oh, I’m so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. Oh, I’m so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open.

There’s hardly any coffee left. There’s hardly any coffee left.

OK, bye. I make most of my calls with my cell phone these days. I hardly ever use the land line. I make most of my calls with my cell phone theses days. I hardly ever use the land line.

And I have here a fourteen carat seventeen jewel timepiece. And that’s only right because the man I’m giving it to is a fourteen carat seventeen jewel cashier.
It’s a very beautiful watch Chris.
Speech, speech. Speak up Chris, speak up. Come on Chris. Speech.
Well, I err… I hardly know what to say J.J. This er…. Why, it’s beautiful.

So let’s review. When things require energy and effort, we say they’re hard. The adverb ‘hard’ means with energy or force. The adverb ‘hardly’ means something different. It means almost not.

Well, I err… I hardly know what to say J.J.

So we’re at the end of this lesson. It wasn’t so hard, was it? One more example.

So this is our office.
Very nice! Who’s this?
Oh that’s Jeannie. She’s one of our best employees. She works really hard.
And who’s that?
Ah, that’s Jay. Some days he hardly works at all.

Click here to watch this video witha clickable transcript
Click here to see more grammar videos.
Click here to see more vocabulary videos.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.