3

I have a question, where should I place my "at least" in the following sentence, lemme first show what's the meaning of my sentence:

Maybe I won't get the gold medal, but I surely still gonna get the silver medal.

So I would like to make the above sentence shorter, but I am not sure where to place "at least" here, here are my 3 ways to place "at least", but I don't know which is proper.

I still at least will get a silver medal.

Or:

I still will get the silver medal at least.

Or:

I at least still will get the silver medal.

I am a bit confused, and I am not sure exactly where would be the most optimal place to write "at least".

I hope everyone can understand my question, I hope it's clear enough.

1
  • 1
    You could even start the sentence with at least.
    – mdewey
    Dec 28, 2020 at 12:12

4 Answers 4

3

for me, the following sentences sound best:

At least I will get a silver medal still.

or even better

At least I will still get a silver medal.

9

The word order I would propose is the following:

Maybe I won't get the gold medal, but I will still get at least the silver medal.

When used with quantities, "at least" is typically used just before that quantity. E.g.

  • "These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in your usual external household waste bin." (gov.uk)
  • "He’s already well known, or at least some of the plays are already well known in continental Europe, before he dies." (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust)

"Silver" is not a quantity, but it is on a scale between bronze and gold (for medals), so it feels natural to place "at least" before "silver medal". This word order assumes that the silver medal is the "lowest" medal you expect to win.

You can also put "at least" after "but":

Maybe I won't get the gold medal, but at least I'll get the silver medal.

This implies that you are willing to settle for less than the gold medal. You can also put "at least" at the end:

Maybe I won't get the gold medal, but I will still get the silver medal, at least.

However, in that position, it feels more like an afterthought and seems to convey less confidence than the first word order.

0
4

This may be the most idiomatic position:

Maybe I won't get the gold medal, but at least I'll get the silver [medal].

The word "medal" can be left out, since it will be understood from the context.

1
  • Both this and Tsundoku's proposed wording are natural, but they have different meanings. Dec 28, 2020 at 11:41
2

All three sentence structures sound fine to me with regards to the placement of "at least", however, the ordering of "will" and "still" sounds unnatural. In all three of your examples, switching these two words will make the sentence more idiomatic.

I will at least still get a silver medal.

I will still get the silver medal at least.

I at least will still get the silver medal.

I would probably use the first example in written text, but the other two would sound perfectly fine to me in spoken English.

1
  • Also consider dropping 'still' entirely. It has negligible impact on the meaning of the sentence. My decision here would be based on its effect on meter and rhyme. Dec 28, 2020 at 23:45

You must log in to answer this question.

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