hardly ...when

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Tigers85, Sep 28, 2009.

  1. Tigers85 Senior Member

    Some people say that sentence (1) is not acceptable because the verb
    in "when" clauses in (1) should not be a self-controllable one:

    (1) Tom had hardly seen me when he ran away.

    Compared to (1), sentence (2) is acceptable:

    (2) Bill had hardly left home when it srated to rain.

    If this is true, can the same kind of thing be applied to "hardly...before" or "no sooner ...than"?

    Tigers 85
  2. Tigers85 Senior Member

    I will change my question.
    Can we say the following?
    (1) Tom had hardly seen me when he ran away.
    (2) Tom had barely seen me when he ran away.
    (3) No sooner had Tom seen me when he ran away.
    Thank you in advance.
    Tigers 85
  3. AlabamaBoy

    AlabamaBoy Senior Member

    Alabama, USA
    American English
    I am not aware of a rule which prevents the use of any of the constructions except (3), though I could see that a language purist might find it a bit illogical.

    (3) No sooner had Tom seen me than he ran away.

    If prefer this last construction over the hardly-when construction for a self-controllable case.
  4. DSJ New Member

    Montréal, Québec
    I agree with AlabamaBoy.
    "Hardly...when" and
    "No Sooner... than"

    Whereas I would expect to read a sentence constructed like this, I am not sure that I would actually say it. I think that I would just say "Tom ran away just as he saw me" or something like that.
  5. agway Junior Member

    These sentences are cumbersome because word order is baffling.
    I take it that you had him scared, and he took to his feet; not that you had barely seen him after his escape from prison. If the second is what you have in mind than your tenses are tangled.
    Hardly had he seen me when he ran away.
    The above should be correct but still awkward.
  6. Tigers85 Senior Member

    Thank you.

    Tigers 85

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