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  1. #1
    cheelv is offline Newbie
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    Default to say the least

    Hi all,

    I'm uncertain with the meaning of the bold-phrase below:

    "It's your brother's letter," I said.
    "Yes, his last. I want you to keep it," she said.
    "Why?" I said. It was a weird gift, to say the least.

    Does it mean "the smallest gift" or?

    Thanks for your help :)

  2. #2
    riquecohen's Avatar
    riquecohen is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: to say the least

    Quote Originally Posted by cheelv View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm uncertain with the meaning of the bold-phrase below:

    "It's your brother's letter," I said.
    "Yes, his last. I want you to keep it," she said.
    "Why?" I said. It was a weird gift, to say the least.

    Does it mean "the smallest gift" or? No.

    Thanks for your help :)
    It means that the previous statement ("It was a weird gift") was put very mildly or understated. More could have been said about it, but wasn't.

  3. #3
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: to say the least

    Incidentally, 'to say the least' is not a phrasal verb.

  4. #4
    cheelv is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: to say the least

    Thanks Mr.riquecohen :) That really helps.

  5. #5
    britintheUS is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: to say the least

    It's almost as if someone is angry with you and they don't tell you why, because they don't want to be mean/rude. So someone might say " to say the least"... when they don't want to go into any more detail about the matter.

  6. #6
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: to say the least

    Quote Originally Posted by britintheUS View Post
    It's almost as if someone is angry with you and they don't tell you why, because they don't want to be mean/rude. So someone might say " to say the least"... when they don't want to go into any more detail about the matter.
    ??

    That is not a familiar use for me. It confirms that the prior statement is an understatement.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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