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In the English Language there is such a thing as Emphatic constructions. One of them

I had hardly come in when it started to pour with rain. or
No sooner had I come in than it started to pour with rain.

I wonder if it is still used in American English.

  • @MaulikV: than is correct in this case! The construction sooner than is completely equivalent to bigger than. See for instance here. – oerkelens Nov 21 '14 at 10:44
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    why do you suspect these emphatic constructions are not used anymore in AmE? They seem quite common. I don't think many native speakers would say pouring with rain, though. When it starts pouring, it's clear that it is raining. So you can simply say It started to pour. – oerkelens Nov 21 '14 at 10:46
  • @oerkelens They might not know of any way to check. It seems like a fair question. – snailboat Nov 21 '14 at 13:43
  • This construction isn't that common in spoken American English and vernacular, but it is very common in American literature. – Crazy Eyes Nov 21 '14 at 20:02
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I had hardly come in when it started to pour with rain.

No sooner had I come in than it started to pour with rain.

Basically right, but there are a couple of non-idiomatic elements in those examples.

The first sentence is a bit off. As @oerkelens points out, "with rain" is not usually heard in such statements. And "come in" with "hardly" is not the right expression for getting into the house in the nick of time, though it does work with "No sooner had I come in..."

Here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (where there's an Irish-English influence) we might say

I'd barely made it in the door when it started to pour down rain.

or

I'd hardly gotten through the door when it started to pour.

or

No sooner had I made it through the door than it started to rain cats and dogs.

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