According to Oxford Dictionary

be hard on somebody/something: ​to be likely to hurt or damage something

Looking at a computer screen all day can be very hard on the eyes.

The dictionary says we can use "be hard on something" and they don't state clearly what something must be.

But most dictionaries often give example like "be very hard on the eyes" or "This kind of work can be hard on your back." or "Aerobics is quite hard on the knees."

So the "something" here often refers to parts of a body like "your eyes/ back/knees etc".

My question is

Can the "something" be a non-human physical objects like a table, a chair, toys, or a bowl or things like that?

For example, when a boy tried to pull, crumple, and twist a rubber toy car, can we say "don't be hard on your toy car"?

1 Answer 1


Yes, the object of the verb “hard on” can be people, animals, or inanimate objects.

Off-road racing is hard on a motorcycle

The training sergeant was hard on the platoon

She was a gentle rider with light hands, never hard on her mount

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