Adjectives and adverbs (2) (well/fast/late, hard/hardly)


Good is an adjective. The adverb is well:
• Your English is good. but
• Susan is a good pianist. but
We use well (not ‘good’) with past participles (dressed/known etc.):
well-dressed well-known well-educated well-paid
But well is also an adjective with the meaning ‘in good health’:
• ‘How are you today?’ ‘I’m very well, thanks.’ (not ‘I’m very good’)

These words are both adjectives and adverbs:
• Jack is a very fast runner.
• Ann is a hard worker.
• The train was late.
Lately = ‘recently’
• Have you seen Tom lately?

Hardly = very little, almost not. Study these examples:
• Sarah was rather unfriendly to me at the party. She hardly spoke to me.
(= she spoke to me very little, almost not at all)
• George and Hilda want to get married but they’ve only known each other for a few
days. I don’t think they should get married yet. They hardly know each other.
(= they know each other very little)
Hard and hardly are completely different. Compare:
• He tried hard to find a job but he had no luck. (= he tried a lot, with a lot of effort)
• I’m not surprised he didn’t find a job. He hardly tried to find one. (= he tried very little)

We often use hardly + any/anybody/anyone/anything/anywhere:
• A: How much money have you got?
B: Hardly any. (= very little, almost none)
• I’ll have to go shopping. We’ve got hardly any food.
• The exam results were very bad. Hardly anybody
in our class passed. (= very few students passed,
almost nobody passed)
• She ate hardly anything. She wasn’t feeling
hungry. {= she ate very little, almost nothing)

Note the position of hardly. You can say:
• She ate hardly anything. or She hardly ate anything.
• We’ve got hardly any food. or We’ve hardly got any food.

We often use can/could + hardly. I can hardly do something = it’s almost impossible for me to do it:
• Your writing is terrible. I can hardly read it. (= it is almost impossible for me to read it)
• My leg was hurting me. I could hardly walk.

Hardly ever = almost never
• I’m nearly always at home in the evenings. I hardly ever go out.