Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 0
Just wondering why the words 'barely' and 'hardly' are interchangeable when referring to an almost imperceptible condition like "He was barely breathing", or "He was hardly breathing"), but the words 'bare' and 'hard' are dissimilar. (most of the time ;o)


cat
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I suppose it's the same reason as "slim chance" and "fat chance" meaning the same thing.

~aj
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
Hmmm... I wonder if it's related to "hard on the heels of" (meaning really, really close) and other similar expressions? Perhaps "hard" meant "near" at one point?


Frydaze1
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Okay, correction, "hard on the heels" means right behind, rather than close. But still, the "hard" in that sentence seems to mean "close".


Frydaze1
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Okay, correction, "hard on the heels" means right behind, rather than close. But still, the "hard" in that sentence seems to mean "close".

I think "hardly" is a simple contrast to "easily" as in easy vs hard = difficult. "He was easily breathing" vs "he was hardly breathing". (Not good grammar, just trying to get the point across.)

No idea why "bare" would mean "imperceptible". "Clothed" doesn't mean a sure thing.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I suppose it's the same reason as "slim chance" and "fat chance" meaning the same thing.

Or the fact that if a house burns up it burns down.
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
"if a house burns up it burns down. "

The end result is the same—unlike between "knocked down" and "knocked up" :-)

~aj
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 1
The end result is the same—unlike between "knocked down" and "knocked up" :-)

However, "knocked down" sometimes means the same thing as "knocked over".

And sometimes not.

So, naturally, I went looking to see if there is an expression "knock under", and found something quite surprising.

   To knock up, to fail of strength; to become wearied or worn
out, as with labor; to give out. "The horses were
beginning to knock up under the fatigue of such severe
service." --De Quincey.


I think somebody needs to have a word with these people...
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I've always assumed that fat chance was sarcastic. Which is why it means the same as slim chance.

Frydaze1
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
I think the issue here is that the adverb "barely" doesn't really have anything to do with being bare.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barely

Hardly is considered an acceptable synonym for barely.

Just more vagaries of the English language, which is made up of so many contradictory rules, it's amazing that anyone not born as a native speaker ever manages to use it correctly.

LWW
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 4
MacMillan's says that the word "hardly" is not related to the word "hard."

It's not even barely related.


sheila
Print the post Back To Top
No. of Recommendations: 0
Just wondering why the words 'barely' and 'hardly' are interchangeable when referring to an almost imperceptible condition like "He was barely breathing", or "He was hardly breathing"), but the words 'bare' and 'hard' are dissimilar. (most of the time ;o)

You are wondering if they are barely interchangeable or hardly interchangeable?
Print the post Back To Top
Advertisement