Another common word in the English language we're gonna learn about is 'least'. Are you ready? Come on.

'Least' mainly functions as a determiner, an adjective, a pronoun, and an adverb. In this lesson, we are going to learn all about it.

Functions of 'Least'

'Least' as a Determiner

As stated above, 'least' can function as a determiner. Below, we are going to learn about the type of determiner it is:

Use

'Least' as a Quantifier

When 'least' is a determiner, it goes under the category of 'quantifiers'. As the name suggests,
'quantifiers' refer to the amount of something. We use 'least' to show that something in the slightest amount.
Look at the examples below:

The least attempt would've been to validate my feelings.

Who has the least knowledge in distance learning?

Position in a Sentence

Since 'least' is a determiner, it always comes before nouns to show the amount. Look at the following examples:

Jack has got the least money among us all.

They haven't got the least idea what methods to use.

'Least' as a Pronoun

Use

As mentioned above, 'least' can function as a pronoun, too. It is used instead of a noun to show that something is of the least importance. Look at the following examples:

The least you can do is stop talking.

How can talking to your parents be the least of your concerns?

Position in a Sentence

Since 'least' is a pronoun here, it replaces nouns and comes after determiners. Look at the following examples for more information:

The least I could think of was abortion.

You are of the least importance in my life.

'Least' as an Adverb

As mentioned above, 'least' can function as an adverb, too. Below, we are going to learn about the type of adverb it is:

Use

'Least' as an Adverb of Degree

'Least' as an adverb shows the slightest amount. Look at the following examples:

She is the aunt I enjoy spending time with the least.

Going to therapy was the thing she thought about the least.

Position in a Sentence

Since adverbs are used to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs, they mainly come after them. Look at the following examples:

Family is the one thing is would choose to be with on holidays the least.

My favorite hobby was the what I had time for the least.

Warning!

Note that since 'least' is the superlative form of 'little', it must come after a definite article.

'Least' as an Adjective

'Least' can also function as an adjective. Below, we are going to learn about the kind of adjective it is:

Use

'Least' as a Superlative Adjective

When we want to show the smallest amountor not important in comparison to two or more things, we use 'least'. It is the superlative adjective form of 'little'. Note that there must always be the definite article before it. Look at the following examples:

Sometimes, I think I'm the least attractive woman alive.

Didn't you say you wanted to have the least expensive drink on the menu?

Position in a Sentence

Since 'least' is a superlative adjective, it mainly comes before the adjective it is modifying. Look below:

The least important issue right now is to waste time pondering what people might think of us.

Let's consider the least favorable idea.

Idioms and Expressions

We have several idioms and expressions with 'least'. Below, we are going to learn about them:

  • At least: This one has several meanings: One is to show that someone should have done something, but they did not:

Couldn't she call me at least?

  • At least: Another meaning is to show the least positive point in a negative situation:

I know you're in pain, but at least you're finally free.

  • Not in the least: When we want to show that we do not feel in a certain way, we use this one:

A : Are you depressed because they left you?

B : Not in the least.

  • Least said soonest mended: When we want to show that something bad will be forgotten sooner if people stop talking about it so much:

Hannah is still obsessing over her ex, which goes against the famous saying: least said soonest mended.

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