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    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 11
    #1

    Post it's hardly surprising, is it?

    hello,

    I've heard the sentence "it's hardly surprising, is it?" on TV.

    I know there must be a negative tag when the main verb is affirmative so I was wondering if there was an exception here because of the word 'hardly', or if it was a common error in spoken language, or maybe if I misheard this.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #2

    Re: it's hardly surprising, is it?

    'hardly' qualifies a statement by admitting that something is true, BUT that this is to such an insignificant extent as to be negligible.

    This is taken further when we express surprise or disagreement with a statement, and is interpreted as meaning 'no/not' as in, "I hardly think so" = "I don't think so."

    So, in your sentence, "It's hardly surprising, is it?", the first clause is virtually the same as saying, ""It's not surprising, is it?" - hence, the tag in the affirmative.


    • Join Date: Sep 2007
    • Posts: 11
    #3

    Re: it's hardly surprising, is it?

    Thank you for your very clear and quick answer.

    In fact you helped me twice :
    - firstly you reassured me about my hearing : this time I did understand it well
    - secondly you helped me convince a friend whom I usually ask about this kind of things and who told me she would never use an affirmative tag in this case.
    Maybe I should question her opinion more often.



    Thanks again.

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