“I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. …I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” –George Bernard Shaw
HARD: Hard is an adjective, (harder and hardest are comparative and superlative forms), and has many meanings depending on context, situation and referring to a thing, person and place; also functions an adverb. Please, refer to a standard dictionary for its comprehensive meaning.
Hard means that which is not soft (hard ball), opposite of soft, difficult to do (reading is difficult but watching is not), a task that requires effort of body or mind or both, forceful, violent, harsh (They were hard on him.), causing unhappiness (Critics are hard on artists), drinks that high percentage of alcohol, liquors that severe such as the weather (hard summer), of letters that sound sharp (c in cow – hard c, unlike c in children – soft c; g in gun – hard g, unlike g in gin – soft g).
“A workingman is everything. When you got work to do, you work hard, do your job and go on home.” –Herbert Brown the father of Bobby Brown
Hard also forms idioms: be hard on something means treat somebody harshly, critically, severely (Why are police hard on protestors? Why is government hard on less-privileged?); drive a hard bargain, hard and fast, as hard as stone or hard as nails, hard facts, hard going, hard luck, hard lines, hard of hearing (difficulty in hearing), take a hard line, hard work (Study is a hard work but has its rewards) and more.
Hard also functions as an adverb meaning something that requires great concentration or effort.
Hardness is a noun. Hardness of trees’ bark makes it usable for furniture. Example: Life teaching everyone to embrace hardness (the difficulties), and live on.
Hard also forms many other compound nouns: hardboard (stiff board), hard cash, hardwood, hard copy, hardcore, hardware (plural noun), hard disk, hard currency, and hard drug. Hard also forms adjectives with other words: hard-hearted (person), hardheaded (practical person, no sentiment), hardline (stand on an issue or a person), hard-nosed, hard-boiled, hard-pressed, hard-working and others.
HARDLY: Hardly is an adverb, and has distinct meanings unlike hard. Hardly refers scarcely (hardly any water in the rivers in summers?), hardly suggests that something is unlikely, improbable, unreasonable; almost no, almost not (They can hardly have arrived to the party – cannot possibly be there).
HARDY: Hardy is an adjective (hardier and hardiest) suggesting a difficult condition, able to endure hard or difficult conditions.
Who is the author of Hard Times: Thomas Hardy or Charles Dickens? Or, have you hardly read or heard about ‘Hard Times’?