(the) longest [adverb]

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Li'l Bull

Senior Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hi, native speakers of English!

I want to express the idea that a certain Smith has seniority in a company. Is the following correct?:

"Mr Smith has worked for this company the longest."

Can I leave out "the"? (i.e. "... worked for this company longest.")

Is it the same as "Mr Smith has worked for this company for the longest time"?

Do you have a preference?

Thank you in advance.
  • Jim2996

    Senior Member
    American English
    First, I you mean that Mr. Smith has the most seniority in the company, you should just say this. Seniority implies that there is something good about it. Often your pay, promotions, choice of work depends on seniority.

    If you are just stating a fact about the length of time he has worked there, then I would go with Mr. Smith has been here the longest. You can leave out the the. It's personal preference, not something that anyone would interpret differently.

    It's different with Mr Smith has worked for this company for the longest time. This could easily imply that he has been here too long, that you are getting tired of him, that he is past his prime, over the hill, and ready to be put out to pasture.
    If an old school buddy comes to stay with you for a few days, and these 'few days' turn into a few weeks, you could say to him, "You have been here for the longest time," and hope he gets the hint.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    As Jim above points out, length of service and seniority within an organisation are not necessarily linked. Seniority within a grade within a company may (or may not) grant seniority but whether that seniority also gives any benefits is moot.
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