15 October Tuesday

Are you working hard or hardly working?

Dr. P.K.JayarajUpdated: Monday Dec 11, 2017

A lot of words in English are very similar, but have different meanings.  For example the words 'hard' and 'hardly' are often confused. The problem with 'hardly' is that it looks like an adverb (for example; quickly, slowly) formed from an adjective. But hardly is not the adverb of hard.

  The adverb 'hard' means 'a lot'. Example: He works hard. He should be promoted. In contrast, the adverb 'hardly' tells you 'almost never' about a verb or 'almost not at all' about an adjective. Example: I hardly recognised him. ( I did not recognise him). He has hardly attended the class this year. He is going to fail. The word 'hard' can be both an adjective and an adverb. Example: Diamonds are etxremely hard stones (adjective). Tom worked very hard to make his business profitable (adverb).

   What is the difference between 'less' and 'fewer'? Use fewer if you are referring to people or things in the plural (e.g. houses, newspapers, students). Use less when you are referring to something that can't be counted or doesn't have a plural. (E.g. money, air, music, rain).

  Use of 'more better' would make the sentence double comparative. It is incorrect. Similarly, double superlative such as 'the most brightest' is also incorrect.

The adjectives inferior, superior, senior, junior, prior, prefer, preferable etc. take the preposition 'to', not than. Example: This pen is superior to that pen. Lower interest rates were preferable to higher ones.

 It is possible to change the degree of comparison without changing the meaning. Example:  India is the largest democracy in the world (Superlative). India is larger than any other democracy in the world (comparative). No other democracy in the world is as large as India (Positive).

  What is the difference between 'much' and 'many'? 'Much' expresses 'quantity' i.e. it is a quantitative adjective and uncountable noun is used after 'much'. E.g. how much money etc. 'Many' expresses 'number'.  E.g. Many boys, many fruits.  

          In each of the following questions, find out which part of the sentence has an error.  

1. No less than (a)/ hundred people are sitting (b)/in the hall(c)/and waiting for the final performance (d)

2. In spite of facing (a)/much problems (b)/he did not(c)/falter from his path (d)

3. Whole the chapter (a)/of the book (b) is full of(c)/ printing errors (d)

4. This candy is (a)/preferable than (b)/that and(c)/its taste is also comparatively good (d)

5. Her mother told him (a)/that it would be more better (b)/if he would do his(c)/work himself (d).

6. This is the (a)/more difficult question (b)/I have ever solved(c)/within ten minutes (d)  

7. All the paintings (a)/are interesting (b)/but this one is(c)/the more interesting (d)

8. He does not have (a)/some money (b)/to buy a new(c)/ printing machine (d)

9. Work as quick (a)/as you can but (b)/as carefully as possible(c)/ when you take the test (d)

10. Even though it was (a)/raining bad (b)/I went out(c)/to get some medicines (d)

11. It is the dtuy of every citizen (a)/to do his utmost (b)/to defend the hardly-won(c)/freedom of our coutnry (d)

12. At the end of the (a)/Second World War the USA was (b)/was stronger than(c)/any coutnry in the world (d)

13. There is no one (a)/whom I esteem highly (b)/than your father(c)/No error (d)

14. After toiling very hardly (a)/for a long period of time (b)/he found that(c)/recognised him (d)

15. I advised my son (a)/to engage two coolies because (b)/the luggage was too much heavy(c)/for a single coolie (d)

Answers: 1) (a) Replace 'less' with 'fewer' ('less' means 'in small degree'.  'Fewer' means 'number')

2) (b) Replace 'much' with 'many'

3) (a) Replace 'whole the' with 'the whole' ('Whole' is a quantitative adjective and the correct form is 'the whole')

4) (b)  Replace 'than' with 'to'.

5) (b)  Remove 'more'

6)  (b) Replace 'more' with 'most'

7 (d) Replace 'more' with 'most'.

8) (b) Replace 'some' with 'any'

9) (a) Replace 'quick' with 'quickly'.

10) (b) Replace 'bad' with 'badly'

11) (c) Replace 'hardly' with 'hard'

12) (d) Replace 'any coutnry' with 'any other coutnry'

13) (b) Add 'more' before 'highly'

14) (a) Replace 'hardly' with 'hard'

15) (c) Remove 'much'

  The words 'some' and 'any' are used to modify nouns. 'Some' is mostly used in affirmative/ positive sentences. Example: There are some mangoes on thet ree. 'Any' is used in negative sentences. I haven't got any mangoes. You need to do the practice test and study the rules to spot the errors in the usage of adjectives and adverbs. 

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