difference between hardly and seldom

natrium

Member
japanese
Which tag questions are natural?

(1)hardly
(1-1)He hardly knows about you, does he?
(1-2)He hardly knows about you, doesn't he?

(2)seldom
(2-1)He seldom visits you, does he?
(2-2)He seldom visits you, doesn't he?

And when you answer the question (1) saying, "(?), he doesn't know about me at all.", which would be in (?), Yes or No?

When you answer the question (2) saying, "(?), he last visited me three years ago!" ,which would be preferred in (?), Yes or No?

Thank you for reading.
 
  • Anja.Ann

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hello, Natrium :)

    I am not a native, but I think that "hardly" and "seldom" (same as "not quite" and "scarcely") are negative words, thus I'd say:

    1) He hardly knows about you, does he?
    No, he doesn't

    2) He seldom visits you, does he?
    No, he doesn't

    Let's wait for natives. :)
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I agree with Anja.Ann's technical analysis - especially that hardly and seldom are "negatives", so the tag question should not be.
    However, as a native speaker, I find both 1-1 and 2-1 strange/unidiomatic.
    1-3 He doesn't know much about you, does he?
    2-3 He doesn't visit you very often, does he?
    Those are what I would use.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I find the negativity of "hardly" not quite strong enough to justify a positive tag question.

    He hardly knows you, does he? (post #4) sounds distinctly odd to me.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm afraid I find all the tag questions in this thread odd:(.
     
    Last edited:

    Anja.Ann

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Hello, Velisarius :)

    I thought that "hardly" and "seldom" were negative adverbs, same as "never". I mean, shall I say "She never gets up early in the morning, does she?" or "She never gets up early in the morning, doesn't she?"
    Thanks a lot for your help! :)

    EDIT
    Sorry for the cross-posting, Loob (it took me too long to reply!) :)
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm afraid I find all the tag questions in this thread odd:(.
    Now you mention it Loob....:eek:

    Yes, I don't think it's natural to use a tag question when "hardly" and "seldom" are used in this particular way, not strongly positive or negative.
    A different use would be: "She's hardly a spring chicken, is she?", where "hardly" meaning roughly "not at all" sounds more strongly negative to me. I'm not sure this is an adequate explanation though.
     
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