Learn to use "Hardly/Scarcely ------- when" correctly

Hardly/Scarcely ------ when

The conjunction 'Hardly/Scarcely ------ when' is also used to denote simultaneous actions.


1) Hardly had I called my mother when my bell rang.
2) scarcely had she finished eating when she got a stomach ache.

Provided below is a simple trick to remember the usage of this conjunction:
Hardly/scarcelyHadSubject1st ActionwhenSubject2nd Action
HardlyHadIcalled my motherwhenmy bellrang.
scarcelyHadshefinished eatingwhenshegot a stomach ache.

The given sentence can also be written as:

Ihadhardlycalled my motherwhenmy bellrang.
Shehadscarcelyfinished eatingwhenshegot a stomach ache.
From the above example we deduce that:

1) Hardly/Scarcely is always followed by the word 'when' and not 'than'
2) The word 'had' is followed by 'the 3rd form of the verb'

Here are some common mistakes we commit in the usage of this conjunction. Read and see if you commit them too!

Incorrect: My son had hardly seen me so he came to me running.
Correct: My son had hardly seen me when he came running to me.

Incorrect: Scarcely he had entered the room, everyone got quiet.
Correct: Scarcely had he entered the room when everyone got quiet.