Magazine May 4, 2020, Issue


(Wikimedia Commons)

Hardly Literal

I enjoyed Bryan Garner’s article “Sex and the Singular Pronoun” (February 10). It reminded me of the word hardly. I’ve always had trouble accepting that the word is used to mean “a very small amount,” or “to a very small degree,” or “not at all.” I’ve wondered if it has been used that way for so long that it is accepted. It seems that it actually would mean the opposite — “a large amount or degree,” as if to mean “in a hard way.” I would guess that the proper thing to say would actually be “not hardly” instead.

Something to Consider

If you enjoyed this article, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS. Members get all of our content (including the magazine), no paywalls or content meters, an advertising-minimal experience, and unique access to our writers and editors (through conference calls, social media groups, and more). And importantly, NRPLUS members help keep NR going.

If you enjoyed this article and want to see more content like this, we have a proposition for you: Join NRPLUS.


Join Now
NR Editors includes members of the editorial staff of the National Review magazine and website.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners



The Latest