- You've eaten hardly any toast.
- You've hardly eaten any toast.
- I know hardly anybody here.
- I hardly know anybody here.
Hard and hardly are completely different
The adjective hard
- solid, not soft
It has a hard surface
The exam was quite hard
- needing or using a lot of physical effort
It needed a lot of hard work
The adverb from the adjective hard is hard, not hardly
- with force
He hit the ball really hard.
- with effort
I had to work quite hard to pass my exams.
- very carefully
Wed need to think hard about our next move
The adverb hardly has a completely different meaning
- almost not, very little (with verbs)
She hardly slept at all last night.
I hardly know him.
- almost no, very little (with nouns)
There's hardy any sugar left.
I hardly had time to think.
- almost none, very little (with the pronouns any, anybody etc)
Have we much coffee? - Hardly any.
Who came to the meeting? Hardly anybody.
- not very (with adjectives)
It's quite late. He's hardly likely to come now.
You're having to work late again! That hardly seems fair.
The adverb hardly has a negative sense
- it is often used with words used in negative phrases, like any, ever and at all
We've hardly any milk.
She hardly ever comes to see us.
He's hardly eaten anythng at all.
- it is not used with not, never or other negatives
I can't hardly believe it. I can hardly believe it.
He's hardly never done that before. He's hardly ever done that before.
The position of hardly - 1. with verbs, meaning almost not
- before the main verb
I hardly slept all night.
She hardly knew where to look.
- between any auxiliary and the main verb
She has hardly spoken to me all evening.
I can hardly believe it.
In twenty years' time there will hardly be any post offices left
The position of hardly - 2. with nouns, meaning almost no(ne)
- Before the subject
Hardly anybody came to the meeting.
- After be when there's no auxiliary
There's hardly any milk left.
- After a preposition
He managed it with hardly any effort at all.
- You've eaten hardly anything
- I've got hardly any money
- You've hardly eaten anything
- I've hardly got any money
- She hardly said a word to him all evening.
- I hardly had time to pack.
The position of hardly - 3. with been, gone etc + distance or time
- She had hardly been to the end of the road.
- He had hardly gone five minutes
- We had hardly travelled ten miles.
- It's hardly surprising that he feels like that.
- That's hardly very likely.
- He was hardly able to walk.
- Don't worry about the mark. It's hardly noticeable.
- That's hardly fair!
- It's hardly necessary to take that attitude.
Can hardly / could hardly have been
- I can hardly wait to see what his reaction will be.
- I could hardly believe my eyes.
- He could hardly have been more than ten at the time.
- She can hardly have thought he wouldn't have found about it.
- You can hardly blame me for that. I wasn't even there.
- They could hardly sack him when it wasn't his fault, could they?
Hardly, scarcely, barely, rarely, seldom
- I hardly / scarcely / barely know where to start.
- They'd hardly / scarcely / barely had time to unpack.
hardly and scarcely to mean almost never
- He hardly / scarcely leaves the house now he's retired.
hardly ever and rarely
- I hardly ever / rarely / seldom go to the cinema nowadays.
had hardly / scarcely / barely ... when
- She had hardly walked in the door when the phone rang.
- The boys had scarcely finished eating when they ran from the room.
- They had barely had time to take shelter before it started to rain.
had no sooner ... than
- We had no sooner arrived than we were treated to a hearty meal.
- negative adverbial + auxiliary have + subject + past participle of main verb
- Hardly had she walked in the door when the phone rang.
- Scarcely had the boys finished eating when they ran out of the room.
- Barely had they time to take shelter before it started to rain.
- No sooner had they arrived than they were treated to a hearty meal.
The position of hardly before any etc - Ngram graphs
With have + any
A bad night's sleep - British and American compared
|hardly had any sleep||200||hardly got any sleep||290|
|hardly got any sleep||190||hardly had any sleep||190|
|had hardly any sleep||140||had hardly any sleep||110|
|got hardly any sleep||60||got hardly any sleep||60|