It was a reader request that prompted this week's piece. It read, "Please can you throw some light on the word 'hardly'? I know what hard is and I know that the opposite is soft but is hardly the opposite of softly? I hardly think so."
Dave and his wife were clearly pleading for enlightenment. "Can you please help us? I hardly need to remind you that hardly a day goes by when this word doesn't pop up and annoy us."
Well, Mr and Mrs Dave, you've appealed to the right bloke. Hardly is an example of what grammarians