There is at least one distributor interested. ("at least" means "a minimum of")

At least there is one distributor interested. ("at least" means "fortunately, happily")

Are the explanations correct?

When my teacher taught me about focus adverb, she explained, "The position of the adverbs can change the meaning of the sentence." And she showed these sentences as the examples. But I could not find the difference between these two sentences.

  • Yes, the explanations are correct.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 10, 2016 at 2:39
  • Thank you for the answer. The second sentence "At least there is one distributor interested." , I think "at least" means not only "fortunately, happily" but also "a minimum of". Jun 10, 2016 at 2:50
  • Yes, but it suggests that there is not an overabundance of interested parties
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 10, 2016 at 2:55
  • Thank you for the reply. Can I say "at least" means both "fortunately, happily" and "a minimum of" in the second sentence? Jun 10, 2016 at 3:21

1 Answer 1


The prepositional adverbial phrase "at least" has at least two meanings.

  1. at the lowest estimate or figure.

  2. at any rate; in any case: 'You didn't get a good grade, but at least you passed the course.'

Usually it is placed before a number when it means No. 1 and placed at the beginning (or end) of a sentence (sometimes without any number as the above example shows) when it means No. 2.

Your example could be rephrased to:

In any case (if nothing else), there is one distributor interested.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.