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This simple yet useful word is very common in English. You can use it as an adjective or an adverb. In this first set of examples, the word "hard" is an adjective meaning difficult:

  • Our English test was very hard.
  • Jenny likes hard math problems.
  • Joe has a hard job.
  • This is too hard for me to figure out.
  • He has a very hard life.
  • Going through a divorce has been hard. (Emotional trauma is often described as hard.)
  • The death of the young boy’s mother was hard for him.

 a hard life

The word "hard" also means the opposite of "soft."

  • I can’t sleep on this bed. The mattress is too hard.
  • The ground is hard because it hasn’t rained in several weeks.
  • This butter is too hard. Let it soften up a bit.
  • Feel how hard my muscles are.
  • Gold is a very hard metal.

If you use "hard" as an adverb, it means that something is done to a great degree:

  • Joe works hard.
  • Angelica tries as hard as she can to do well in school.
  • The athletes ran as hard as they could to win the race.
  • I can’t bite down too hard on this back tooth because it hurts.
  • Don’t drive the horses too hard. You’ll wear them out.

Note: The oppposite of "hard" is "easy." The adverb "hardly" is very different in meaning from "hard."

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This page was first published on August 17, 2012. It was amended on January 9, 2015.



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