almost nearly hardly barely

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Akasaka

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello members,
I don't really understand these words. Are they all of a group? If so, is there any sentence like:
It is (almost/nearly/barely/hardly) ________________.
What words can be in the blank? For example, we can say, "It is almost five o'clock." but not with "hardly", can't we?
Please help me.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Wouldn't one say It's hardly 5 o'clock when one actually thinks it is not 5 o'clock? Something like:
    A. Hurry up, we're going to be late. It's already 5 o'clock.
    B. It is hardly 5 o'clock, darling. It was 2 o'clock when we left home and we can't have been on the bus for more than half an hour. So now it would be what? 3 o'clock at most.


    Not that I would be very likely to say that, but it just does not strike me as ungrammatical. :eek:
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think so, boozer (though you might use it in reference to someone's chin stubble if you thought it inadequate for the time of day).

    Of the four, I thought that 'hardly' was the odd man out.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think "almost and nearly" go together , as do "barely and hardly". The first two don't reach the goal, whereas the other two reach it, but only just. "Hardly" is a tricky one to use though.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    ...you might use it in reference to someone's chin stubble if you thought it inadequate for the time of day...
    Ah, sure. This was why it did not ring wrong to me. I was, actually, trying to establish why I could not see it as wrong.
    It is hardly 10 a.m., darling, and you're already completely drunk. :D
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I agree with boozer that hardly acquires a different meaning in contexts like this. It essentially negates what follows it.

    This group of words is too varied in meaning and use to handle in one thread. You would do better by putting them in the pairs velisaurius suggests, and looking at previous threads that discuss their differences: almost nearly and barely hardly.

    As usual you are welcome to ask for further explanation on any of the existing threads.
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I think "almost and nearly" go together , as do "barely and hardly". The first two don't reach the goal, whereas the other two reach it, but only just. "Hardly" is a tricky one to use though.
    The first two means "almost" and "nearly"? If so, they do reach the goal, don't they?
    Almost all the people there were Americans.
    This means "not all", doesn't it?
    I'm confused.
     

    Akasaka

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I think I can use these four adverbs in this sentence: That was (almost/nearly/barely/hardly) a home run.
    Am I right?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Think of it like this:

    Almost / nearly all the people there were Americans. (Not all)
    Barely half the people there were Americans. (Only slightly more than 50% )
    The game was hardly a big event (it wasn't really)
    The game was hardly over when everyone started going home. (The game was only just/barely over when they started going home.)
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    "We're not going to be late - it doesn't start till six, and it's barely five now." - Spoken sometime between 4:55 and 5:05.
     
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