adverb hard·ly \ˈhärd-lē\

Definition of hardly

  1. 1 :  with force :  vigorously

  2. 2 :  in a severe manner :  harshly

  3. 3 :  with difficulty :  painfully

  4. 4a —used to emphasize a minimal amount I hardly knew her almost new — hardly a scratch on itb —used to soften a negative you can't hardly tell who anyone is — G. B. Shaw

  5. 5 :  certainly not that news is hardly surprising

Can hardly be used with a negative?

Hardly in sense 5 is used sometimes with not for emphasis. just another day at the office? Not hardly In sense 4b with a negative verb (such as can't, wouldn't, didn't) it does not make a double negative but softens the negative. In “you can't hardly find a red one,” the sense is that you can find a red one, but only with difficulty; in “you can't find a red one,” the sense is that red ones are simply not available. Use of hardly with a negative verb is a speech form; it is most commonly heard in Southern and Midland speech areas. In other speech areas and in all discursive prose, hardly is normally used with a positive. you can hardly find a red one

Examples of hardly in a sentence

  1. It hardly matters what I think.

  2. The changes in service have hardly been noticed.

  3. There are hardly any new features in this software.

  4. Hardly anyone showed up for the meeting.

  5. Hardly a day goes by when I don't think about you.

  6. This is hardly a new idea for a movie.

  7. Is this a new idea for a movie? Hardly! I've seen dozens of movies just like it.

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of hardly

before 12th century

HARDLY Defined for Kids


adverb hard·ly \ˈhärd-lē\

Definition of hardly for Students

  1. :  only just :  barely I can hardly hear you.

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