"not in the least"

viola084

Member
Chinese
-- --The weather isn't good enough for an outing,is it?
-- --Not in the least.we can't have_________at this time of the year.
A.a worse day B.a better day C.such a bad day D.so fine a day

I thought B is the right answer here, but the key is A
So what does "not in the least" mean here?
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    -- --The weather isn't good enough for an outing,is it?
    -- --Not in the least.we can't have_________at this time of the year.
    A.a worse day B.a better day C.such a bad day D.so fine a day

    I thought B is the right answer here, but the key is A
    So what does "not in the least" mean here?
    I think there's something wrong with the question. "Not in the least" is a very odd respose to "The weather isn't good enough for an outing, is it?" And after "we can't have" none of the options makes sense:(
     

    Plasticapple

    Member
    English (British)
    The second speaker means that the weather is very very bad ('we can't have a worse day at this time of year' - the weather is so bad, nothing could make it worse (although it should be 'we couldn't')).
    So he/she is sort of agreeing with the first speaker (confirming their suspicion).
    It could be rewritten:
    'I don't think the weather is good enough for an outing. Do you?'
    'No, I don't think so either. The weather is terrible.'
    But yes, in agreement with Loob, it's a strange question - sounds like it was written by a non-native speaker.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    We can't have a worse day at this time of year.
    That sentence is really weird. I can't believe any native English speaker would say it - or any of the other possibilities.
    I'm sure that "Not in the least" is completely out of place here, too.

    Having said that, I am sure that Plasticapple has correctly explained the reasoning behind the choice of (A) for the answer.

    It's yet another badly-constructed test question.
     

    viola084

    Member
    Chinese
    The second speaker means that the weather is very very bad ('we can't have a worse day at this time of year' - the weather is so bad, nothing could make it worse (although it should be 'we couldn't')).
    So he/she is sort of agreeing with the first speaker (confirming their suspicion).
    It could be rewritten:
    'I don't think the weather is good enough for an outing. Do you?'
    'No, I don't think so either. The weather is terrible.'
    But yes, in agreement with Loob, it's a strange question - sounds like it was written by a non-native speaker.
    Thank you two so much.
    I also agree that the sentence was wriitten by a non-native speaker, maybe a chinese guy.
    I was wondering whether Loob would explain why the sentence doesn't make any sense by saying in this way.Do you mean it is inappropriate to respond to the first person by saying not in the least?
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    For what it's worth, and in confirmation of the poor nature of the question, I would read it the other way, as in Plasticapple's first post (post 2). I would take 'not in the least' to be a contradiction of the first statment.

    The first statement said that the weather was bad. To contradict it you'd say that the weather was good, so B and D become the possible answers.

    I hope many of the questions are not as bad as this one, Viola.
     

    viola084

    Member
    Chinese
    Many of us think not in the least is to express disagreement and then choose B.
    This sentence is difficult for me to understand and is weird for you all. I just want to know which part is weird in the sentence?Is "not in the least" weird or" we couldn't have a worse day this time of the year" weird?
     

    viola084

    Member
    Chinese
    For what it's worth, and in confirmation of the poor nature of the question, I would read it the other way, as in Plasticapple's first post (post 2). I would take 'not in the least' to be a contradiction of the first statment.

    The first statement said that the weather was bad. To contradict it you'd say that the weather was good, so B and D become the possible answers.

    I hope many of the questions are not as bad as this one, Viola.


    This is one of the most "weird" sentences I have read. SO happy to find someone also think B or D is the right answer. Is this the reason why Loob think "not in the least" is a very odd response?
     

    Starfrown

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I personally selected A as the correct answer upon my first reading, but I agree that "not in the least" might well be taken either as a contradiction or as an affirmation to the original question. That is, it may mean either:

    "That is not true in the least. It is an excellent day for an outing."

    or:

    "It is not good in the least. There couldn't be a worse day for an outing."

    I don't know which we should select on the basis of pure logic--those negative questions can be damned confusing, even to native speakers, but in general I think we tend to answer them as we would a positive question:

    "Is the weather good today?"
    "No, it isn't."

    "The weather isn't good today, is it?"
    "No, it isn't."

    I'd like to hear from the others on this.
     

    MJRupeJM

    Senior Member
    USA
    English- U.S.
    those negative questions can be damned confusing, even to native speakers, but in general I think we tend to answer them as we would a positive question:

    "Is the weather good today?"
    "No, it isn't."

    "The weather isn't good today, is it?"
    "No, it isn't."
    To expand what you're saying (and hopefully not confuse more):

    When asked "Is the weather good today?" A native speaker might answer:
    "No, it isn't." --the weather is bad
    or
    "Yes, it is." --the weather is good

    The weather isn't good today, is it?
    "No, it isn't" --the weather is bad
    or
    "No, it is." --the weather is good.
    "Yes it is." --the weather is good.

    However, I think "Yes, it isn't." would be much rarer, but still (?) grammatically correct.
     

    viola084

    Member
    Chinese
    To expand what you're saying (and hopefully not confuse more):

    When asked "Is the weather good today?" A native speaker might answer:
    "No, it isn't." --the weather is bad
    or
    "Yes, it is." --the weather is good

    The weather isn't good today, is it?
    "No, it isn't" --the weather is bad
    or
    "No, it is." --the weather is good.
    "Yes it is." --the weather is good.

    However, I think "Yes, it isn't." would be much rarer, but still (?) grammatically correct.

    Thank you so much." Yes, it isn't "is still less weird than NOT IN THE LEAST.
     
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