I have two sentences. Do they have the same meaning?

  1. "Hardly had he come to the door when he met his school friends".
  2. "No sooner he had come to the door than he met his school friends".

As far as I understood they are quite equal in their meaning.

  • 6
    I think this question is a little too long. Please ask separate questions in separate postings - that way it's easier for people to answer them individually, and easier for other people to find relevant posts in the future.
    – stangdon
    Mar 4 '17 at 13:12
  • @stangdon, I've improved it. Mar 5 '17 at 12:54
  • Your sentences are semantically "off". Although the two phrases "hardly" and "no sooner" mean much the same thing, your examples are not using them properly. When we come to the door and open it, we always instantly see who is at the door. We reserve these phrases to describe the unusually rapid sequence of events, not the usual. We wouldn't say "No sooner had I dropped the pencil when it fell to the ground", unless we were in a zero-G situation that suddenly reverted to Earth-gravity. We are surprised by the instant nature of the events when we use these phrases. Mar 5 '17 at 18:15
  • @TRomano, could I ask you to revise my old topic? Link: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/115800/… Mar 7 '17 at 20:28
  • Not sure what you mean by "revise". Mar 7 '17 at 20:32

No sooner had I come in the door when the phone rang.

I had hardly come in the door when the phone rang.

These two sentences convey the same idea: the phone rang as soon as you stepped inside, or very soon thereafter. It lacks a precise temporal meaning. The speaker might have taken off his overcoat, or kicked off his shoes. The gist of it is the speaker feels that very little time had elapsed between the one event and the next. The speaker can be exaggerating. He might have settled down in a chair and begun to read the evening newspaper.

No sooner had we begun our trip when the car had a flat tire.

We had hardly begun our trip when the car had a flat tire.


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