LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||19/FEV/2013 2:10 AM|
The sentence includes two actions that happened in the past: "swallow the medicine" and "begin to feel better." In this case, the action that happened earlier in the past should be in the past perfect ("had swallowed the medicine"), whereas the action that happened later should be in the simple past ("began to feel better").
The negative adverbs hardly, scarcely, no sooner and barely are just used to show that the second action happened right after the first one. In other words, the past actions were very close to each other in terms of time.
These adverbs are placed in the beginning to make the sentence more emphatic or dramatic. Every time that happens, you should invert the subject and the verb: "hardly had she swallowed," "no sooner had she swallowed," etc. This is a clear mark of formal language.
You should also remember that the adverbs hardly, scarcely and barely are followed by when. But the adverb no sooner is followed by than.
Therefore, the following sentences are OK:
* Hardly had she swallowed the medicine when she began to feel better.
* Barely had she swallowed the medicine when she began to feel better.
* No sooner had she swallowed the medicine than she began to feel better.
The second alternative ("Hardly did she swallow") is wrong because the earlier action is in the simple past instead of the past perfect. It's also wrong because hardly should be followed by when, not by than.
I should warn you, however, that the rules I've just mentioned are based on standard grammar. In real life, people may use different structures. When answering a test, however, using standard grammar rules is probably the best choice.
I hope that helps!
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