0

This is a sentence meaning and if they are synonymous with each other(''least of all'' to ''let alone'').

Example sentence:

The leaders of the Harakiri Gang do not want to go to school, least of all their members.

And

The leaders of the Harakiri Gang do not want to go to school, let alone their members.

If a statement is somehow negative, sometimes, we include 'least of all' and 'let alone' depending on the context, right? My question is, are the bold letters in the highlighted sentences above, used appropriately and are theysynonymous.

1
  • You edited 'gang' to 'Gang' why? 'Haraikiri gang' is just something I've made up. It's not a proper noun or something...
    – John Arvin
    Commented Mar 15, 2018 at 2:56

2 Answers 2

3

Neither of your sentences really make sense.

When a main clause identifies a set (for example, of people), least of all identifies a subset and means especially not, and the subset must follow it.

I think that what you want to say is that members is a set which includes the leaders, and leaders is a subset of members who especially don't want to go to school.

If you were to use less so than in your sentence, it would have the meaning that you intend:

Leaders of the Harakiri gang do not want to go to school, less so than their members.

This works because the subset must precede less so than. To use least of all, the subset must follow it, so would have to swap members and leaders:

Members of the Harakiri gang do not want to go to school, least of all their leaders.

let alone means that the following suggestion is even less suitable than the one already mentioned.

Members of the Harakiri gang do not want to go to school, let alone wear school uniforms.

Here, going to school is a bad idea, but wearing school uniform is an even worse idea.

5
  • Hello, I'm almost there! I clearly understand your explanation. One more, I can vary whose the 'set' and the 'subset' in a sentence by using these 'least of all(set then subset) then 'less so than'(subset then set). I just wanna confirm this. Is this the summary from what you have explained?
    – John Arvin
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 8:26
  • A set is a large group and a subset is a smaller group that forms a part of the larger group. the members can only be a subset of leaders if everybody is a leader, but only a few of these leaders is members. Is that what you meant?
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 8:26
  • This 'least of all' is taken from an native english speaker when he's talking about something, so I thought that it will be best to learn this. BUT,(another question) why is that he didn't use ESPECIALLY NOT if it is the same as LEAST OF ALL right? Is the 'least of all' a higher level of phrase or something?(I'll be glad if it is!)
    – John Arvin
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 8:33
  • 'A set is a large group and a subset is a smaller group that forms a part of the larger group'' oh I see, nice, got it.
    – John Arvin
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 8:55
  • 1
    especially not is a dictionary definitiion of the meaning of the expression least of all. especially not is used occasionally, but least of all is a lot more common. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Mar 14, 2018 at 15:59
1

I suppose they both work. As a native speaker (AmE), the first feels a bit weird. Reading it is much different than it being spoken because you can't hear the intonation of the sentence. It could be confusing because someone might think it means that the leaders themselves have the "least" interest in going to school. Using "let alone" in this case can only have the one meaning and just sounds more natural.

I would say they could mean the same thing but I wouldn't ever recommend using "least of all" here.

1
  • 1
    JavaLatte's answer is great but I would say more-so for the reason of being technically correct. I'm certain if you were to speak this sentence everyone would understand your intent and would recommend the second. A way to say this and be technically correct could be: "The Harakiri gang's leaders don't want to go to school, let alone its members". In this way you're now talking about leaders and members as properties of the Harakiri gang.
    – bhow
    Commented Mar 13, 2018 at 20:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .