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Thread: the last person

  1. #1
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    Default the last person

    Do the following two sentences have the same meaning?
    a. You are the last person I want to hurt.
    b. You are the person I don't want to hurt most.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: the last person

    (b) sounds most unusual, but if I interpret it correctly it seems to capture the meaning of (a) - except that (a) doesn't really refer to a number of potentially 'hurtable' people. It (that is a) - as you shouldn't use b) doesn't mean 'you're at the bottom of the list of people I'd like to hurt'; it means 'I really, really don't want to hurt you'.

    b

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    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the last person

    Quote Originally Posted by sjc55 View Post
    Do the following two sentences have the same meaning?
    a. You are the last person I want to hurt.
    b. You are the person I don't want to hurt the most.
    Both are correct with a minor correction to the second one. The way they are used depends on the situation.

    a. You are the last person I want to hurt the most.

    The scenario might be this. I have made a decision to do something that affects several people in different ways. Unknowingly, I have affected one person whom I like more than I expected and she comes running up to me in tears saying....

    "How could you do this to me!!! Do you realize what you have done!!??"
    "I'm sorry, you are the last person I want to hurt."

    b. You are the person I don't want to hurt.

    The scenario might be this. I have a difficult decision to make but I want to warn someone who will be affected and gauge his reaction to my decision before it is implemented.

    "Hi Bob! I called you into the office today for your opinion. I have to make a decision on this matter soon. That is why I sent you the memo this morning. You are the person I don't want to hurt the most in this process. Are you ok with my decision???"

    Depending on his answer I might modify my decision.

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    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: the last person

    The second sentence, rephrased as "You are the person I most don't want to hurt", would be a colloquial usage meaning that "you are the person I least want to hurt, the one I care about most".

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    Smile Re: the last person

    Dear Naamplao,

    Thank you for your reply with such detailed scenario.

  6. #6
    IvanV is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the last person

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    The second sentence, rephrased as "You are the person I most don't want to hurt", would be a colloquial usage meaning that "you are the person I least want to hurt, the one I care about most".
    Had we changed the word order - 'You are the person I don't want to hurt the most', it would sound like the person B will not be hurt as much as the person A can harm, or will harm the others.

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    Default Re: the last person

    Quote Originally Posted by sjc55 View Post
    Dear Naamplao,

    Thank you for your reply with such detailed scenario.
    Shame (a) isn't acceptable either to me or to most native speakers. As Naamplao's example shows, "the most" is superfluous.

    b

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    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the last person

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Shame (a) isn't acceptable either to me or to most native speakers. As Naamplao's example shows, "the most" is superfluous.

    b
    I am not sure I understand your meaning here BobK.

    In my scenario for sentence b) "the most" is certainly not superfluous. A manager must make a rather difficult decision and he calls in an employee (Bob) who will be affected by the decision and asks for his opinion on whether the decision will be difficult for him....he confides in him that of all the people in the office, he is the the one he doesn't want to see hurt.

    Why is sentence a) not acceptable?? I have had my scenario happen to me personally. It is certainly acceptable to native English speakers where I come from.

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    Default Re: the last person

    'You are the last person I want to hurt' is right - I agree with your example. I read - or dreamt I had read - 'You are the last person I want to hurt the most'. It was in that - non-existent - version that "the most" is superfluous. Perhaps someone has done a surreptitious Edit; more likely, senility has begun to set in.

    Another option, though with different overtones, is 'You are the person I least want to hurt'. (That's "least".)

    b

  10. #10
    Naamplao is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: the last person

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Another option, though with different overtones, is 'You are the person I least want to hurt'. (That's "least".)

    b
    I like your version better but the other means the same thing in my opinion.

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