“The control and discipline of being a mother came so hard to me, that I can’t delude myself that if I’d been a man, and not forced into self-control, I’d have been any different.”

Could anyone help me understand the meaning of the word “hard” in this sentence?

  • 3
    Comes easy means happens naturally. Comes hard means acts as a challenge. Aug 18, 2020 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


"Hard" here is an adverb, meaning "with a great deal of effort".

Use it in a sentence, "I work so hard to get this job".

The first part of your sentence can be reshaped to "the control and discipline came to me with a great deal of effort".

Note that all the above holds valid unless "came" plays as a copula, also known as a linking verb, which shows a transfer of physical or mental state, meaning "became". It is instead an adjective. This uncertainty, however, merely bring few to no difference in the meaning.

  • I have upvoted this answer, because I find it substantially sound, though a little awkwardly worded. It makes the good point that "hard" can be read as adverb or adjective, though with essentially the same meaning. In either case, "hard" functions as a complement to "come": the adverb "hard" cannot be read as an adjunct because "x comes hard to y" is not a qualification of "x comes to y".
    – Pax
    Aug 19, 2020 at 17:55

In this sentence, using the word "hard" means that certain aspects of mothering (self-control and discipline) presented themselves as difficult to the narrator.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.