Ne … guère = Hardly

These sentences use the negative expression ne... guère (hardly):

Il n'y avait guère de nourriture en ce temps-là.
There wasn't much food in those times.

Je n'ai guère le temps.
I hardly have time.

Il n'est guère patient.
He isn't very patient.

Nous ne nous en soucions guère.
We hardly worry about it.

Note that the negation ne... guère means not much / not very or hardly depending on context.

It is quite an old-fashioned expression, rarely used nowadays, but you could find it in older novels or articles.

As with other negative expressions, the verb is placed between ne and guère.

ATTENTION:
Guère can never be used on its own to express hardly.
Instead, you would use the expression à peine:


Sais-tu nager ? - À peine.
Can you swim? - Hardly.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Je n'ai guère le temps.
I hardly have time.


Sais-tu nager ? - À peine.
Can you swim? - Hardly.


Il n'y avait guère de nourriture en ce temps-là.
There wasn't much food in those times.


Nous ne nous en soucions guère.
We hardly worry about it.


Il n'est guère patient.
He isn't very patient.


Q&A Forum 5 questions, 9 answers

DeveshA0Kwiziq community member

How to use on ose à peine

Hi can you pls explain how to use " on ose à peine dire/ énoncer"

Asked 1 month ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Devesh, 

The expression 'oser à peine + faire',  means to hardly /scarcely dare to do something, so you might say -

J'ose à peine espérer qu'ils viendront pour mon anniversaire = I can hardly dare hope that they will come for my birthday 

J'ose à peine vous dire ce qu'ils m'ont révélé I can hardly dare  tell you what they revealed to me

Hope this helps!

 

How to use on ose à peine

Hi can you pls explain how to use " on ose à peine dire/ énoncer"

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DonaldC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Je ne pense guère

N'aurait-on pas besoin d'utiliser le mot <en> avec cette phrase?  Sinon, la phrase n'a pas de sens.  Je n'en pense guère ou j'en pense à peine.  J'ai à peine le temps de le faire... I hardly have time to do it.  Merci, Don
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi Donald,

As the verb penser is followed by 'à' , it would be,

'Je n'y pense guère' or 'je n'y pense à peine'...

Hope this answers your question...

DonaldC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Parfait.  Merci 

Je ne pense guère

N'aurait-on pas besoin d'utiliser le mot <en> avec cette phrase?  Sinon, la phrase n'a pas de sens.  Je n'en pense guère ou j'en pense à peine.  J'ai à peine le temps de le faire... I hardly have time to do it.  Merci, Don

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CrystalMaidenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I heard about ne guère de monde, what's the distinction there?

Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hi CrystalMaiden,

Do you mean: 

"Il n'y a guère de monde" ="There's hardly anyone here". ?

CécileKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

You would use 'guère' in an answer (without the ne).

e.g.

Aimez-vous l' art moderne? - Guère (meaning not really).

But it does sound a bit stilted...

CrystalMaidenC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
Yes, what makes it different from guère, since it can be used in the same situations?

I heard about ne guère de monde, what's the distinction there?

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SueC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

"Hardly" eg can you swim? answer "hardly"

English can respond to a question by saying hardly can it be used in the same way in french. thank you
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq team member
Bonjour Sue ! This is an interesting question: in this case "guère" can never be used on its own. If you wanted to express "hardly" in the mentioned context, you would use the expression "à peine": "Sais-tu nager ? - À peine." I've now added a note to the lesson. Merci beaucoup et à bientôt !

"Hardly" eg can you swim? answer "hardly"

English can respond to a question by saying hardly can it be used in the same way in french. thank you

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MikeB2Kwiziq community member

So if it is an old fashion expression, how do you express this in modern French?

Asked 4 years ago
LauraKwiziq team member
Bonjour Mike, There are a few different ways. Il n'y avait guère de nourriture > Il n'y avait pas beaucoup de nourriture, Il y avait très peu de nourriture. Je n'ai guère le temps > J'ai à peine le temps, j'ai à peine assez de temps. Nous ne nous en soucions guère > Nous nous en soucions très peu, Nous ne nous en soucions presque pas.
JohnnyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor
What is the difference in usage between à peine and peu or pas beaucoup? Can you use à peine in all three of your examples above? Thanks.

So if it is an old fashion expression, how do you express this in modern French?

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