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    #1

    Use of the phrase "at least"

    Hello,

    I am slightly confused on the use of the phrase "at least" when used in different contexts with regards to time...

    My first example would be the following:
    "I will be gone until at least 8:00", this sentence suggests to me that the person will be back at 8:00 at the earliest but it could also be any time past 8:00.

    My second example would be:
    "I will be home by at least 8:00", this sentence suggests to me that the person will be home anytime before 8:00 or 8:00 at the latest.

    I have heard this phrase used both ways by people, are they both correct to use and if so have I interpreted them properly?

    Thanks.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Retired English Teacher
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    #2

    Re: Use of the phrase "at least"

    Welcome, WhiteRa.

    I would say #1 is commonly used to mean what you think it means.

    #2 is unnatural and confusing. As you say, 'I'll be home by 8 at the latest' is clear and unequivocal.

    Rover

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