In French, to express something hardly ever happens, you use ne ... guère.
Negative sentences with "ne ... guère" in French
These sentences use the negative expression ne... guère:
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 de me reposer.I hardly have time to rest.
Il n'est guère patient.He isn't very patient.
Nous ne nous en soucions guère.We hardly worry about it.
The negation ne... guère can either refer to a small quantity or a low frequency depending on context. Therefore it can mean the following: not much, not very, hardly, hardly ever.
It is quite an old-fashioned expression, rarely used nowadays, but you may find it in older novels or articles.
Guère can never be used on its own to express hardly/hardly ever.
Instead, you would use the expression à peine (hardly) or presque jamais (hardly ever):
Sais-tu nager ? - À peine.Can you swim? - Hardly.
- Quand lui rends-tu visite ? - Presque jamais, pour être honnête.- When do you visit him? - Hardly ever, to be honest.
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