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Although there has been explained, in fact, I cannot yet get why the bold part has been used. And, I am wondering if a and b mean the same thing,if so when? when not?

In addition, what are them? are they considered as conjunction?

a. let alone: used for saying that something is even less likely to happen than another unlikely thing: I hardly have time to think these days, let alone relax.

b. still/much/even less: used after a negative statement in order to emphasize that it applies even more to what you say next: I am no one's spokesman, much less his.

You could make the case that let alone and much less are synonymous, since you could substitute one for the other:

I am no one's spokesman, let alone his.

I hardly have time to think these days, much less relax.

Thanks

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Yes, they are both considered conjunctions. Furthermore, the two expressions are synonmyms.

I think the reason for you having difficulties with these sentences is that some information has been ellipted:

I am no one's spokesman, let alone his.

is the same as:

I am no one's spokesman, let alone that I would be his spokesman

And:

I hardly have time to think these days, much less relax.

is the same as:

I hardly have time to think these days, much less do I have time to relax these days.

  • Thanks a lot. Nonetheless, why has occurred an inversion? – nima May 26 '15 at 20:11
  • After an adverbial with a negative/restrictive/emphatic meaning (such as "much less") in the beginning of a sentence, inversion frequently occurs, especially in formal English. Some other examples (in independent clauses): Never would I kill someone. Seldom do I watch television. – Sander May 26 '15 at 20:24
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With let alone, the two things must share a relevant quality, and have this quality in significantly different measure.

For example:

Things are so busy at work these days that I don't even have time for a quick snack at my desk, let alone a three-martini lunch.

One would not say:

I don't care for cats, let alone baroque music.

The same is true of much less:

I was born on a small farm and have never even taken a bus out of Kansas, much less flown in a private jet to Istanbul! Where did you ever get the idea I was a world traveler?

  • This seems like correct information, but you haven't related it to the question at all, so I'm not sure what your actual answer is. Your first example here is comparing time, which can be quantified, and the second compares distance, which can be quantified. I don't think that the "...much less his" example from the question works, because being someone's spokesman isn't something that can be quantified. You are or you aren't. Do you agree? – DCShannon May 27 '15 at 3:20
  • I would agree with you that I am no one's spokesman, much less his doesn't work. The comparands must possess the shared quality in differing degrees; an absolute like "no one's" makes the comparison by degree meaningless. I never eat seafood, much less prawns. doesn't work, whereas I don't eat fish, much less raw fish does work. The shared quality there would be "what I consider (in)edible". – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 27 '15 at 11:41
  • I misspoke there. The shared quality is simply "fish". – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 27 '15 at 12:24

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