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Hardly anything has changed.

The above format is common. However, I do not understand the role of 'Hardly' here.

According to SpaCy it is used as an adverb-modifier (advmod) of the main-verb: 'changed'.

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Think of it like this:

Not a lot of things have changed.

The word 'Hardly' is basically a part of the phrase 'Hardly anything'. It means the same as 'Not a lot of things'.

Note that the verb 'has' changes number in the process.

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  • I would agree to "The word 'Hardly' is basically a part of the phrase 'Hardly anything'.". But, then, how can 'Hardly':adverb be used with 'anything':noun? -- That is the question. – Zeeshan Ali Aug 2 '19 at 8:12
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    Because as well as an adverb, hardly is used as a modifier on the quantifier any. Hardly any is a quantifier, just like some and three. Hardly anything is logically the same as Hardly any thing. – Colin Fine Aug 2 '19 at 10:34
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    @ZeeshanAli "Anything" is not a noun, but a determinative. In your example the adverb "hardly" modifies "anything". – BillJ Aug 2 '19 at 17:51
  • Oh! Right! "Anything" is not a noun, but a determinative (pronoun). Even so, an adverb cannot modify a pronoun either. I think @GaidinD explained it well that 'Hardly' has to do with the 'Any' of "Anything". Or, am I missing something? – Zeeshan Ali Aug 5 '19 at 9:09

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