can 'can' be used with 'hardly'?

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AzahAzah

Senior Member
India - Hindi
1. I can hardly understand what he says
2. I hardly understand what he says.

I think, the use of 'can' is redundant here. What is your opinion? But at the same time I also think that 'can' is not always redundant when we use 'hardly' after it.

3. I can hardly go there.
4. I hardly go there.

It seems to me that the meaning of 3 and 4 are different. So 'can' is not redundant for third sentence.

Now I'm waiting for the valuable opinions from native speaker.
 
  • Sentence 1. is OK.* It might be a little puzzling, but if I assume it's a foreign language I don't know well, it's plausible.

    Note that your question is really about the verb 'understand'. "Can hardly" is VERY common and fits many verbs.

    *In fact the structure of 1. is better than 2. for a great many verbs.

    ADDED: Sentence 1. is better worded thus: "I can barely understand what he says."

    Again, the issue is wording; 'can hardly' is not, on its face, objectionable. The past often works: Yesterday I was so sick I could hardly get out of bed.
     
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