We can use “at least” whenever we want to show that some good came out of a bad situation. However, you might be spelling it wrong (even if you think you’re right). This article will help you to understand whether it’s one or two words.
Atleast vs. At least
“At least” is the only correct variation that you should write. It makes sense as two words because you have to keep the preposition separate from the word “least.” This allows us to make the meaning of the phrase much clearer.
According to Google Ngram Viewer, “at least” is the only acceptable choice of the two. The lines are almost entirely parallel, which shows that “at least” is the only grammatically correct variation you should stick to.
We should also take a quick moment to refer to The Cambridge Dictionary and The Oxford Dictionary. It’s helpful to get more information from official dictionaries if you’re a bit stuck on spelling variations.
Both dictionaries define “at least” as the correct phrase. They both use it as two words, and there isn’t a single mention of “atleast” as a suitable variation. Therefore, it’s only correct to use “at least” as two words, so you must remember to do this in your own writing.
Is “Atleast” One Word?
“Atleast” is never one word. While there are rules in English that typically allow us to group certain words together, none of those rules apply when we are dealing with a phrase like “at least.” It would have to be modifying a noun or verb for this to be true.
The AP Stylebook is what we are referring to when we’re looking for rules to group words together. We can use this style when we want to create compound adjectives or nouns that modify specific words.
However, since “at least” isn’t used to modify anything else because it is a standalone phrase, we cannot use the AP Style rules to help us explain “atleast” as a suitable option. Instead, we must stick to “at least” in all cases.
These examples should give you a better idea of how to get it right:
- Correct: There were at least five other people in the room with me, but none of them wanted to come forward about it.
- Incorrect: Atleast there are some other people around who are happy to help you out with this situation.
- Correct: At least you found what you were looking for. It might have taken some time, but it was worth it in the end.
- Incorrect: Well, atleast some good came out of this mess. I’m just sorry you had to go through it!
Is “At least” Two Words?
“At least” is correct as two words. We must remember to treat the preposition separately from the word “least.” There are very few grammatical cases where prepositions are grouped together with other words, so it would help to remember the space between them.
As we mentioned, the AP Style rules only apply when we are using adjectives or verbs to create compounds. We cannot use AP Style rules for compound words when we are working with prepositions like “at.”
It might help to see how the two words are kept separate with the following examples:
- Look, at least it’s not as bad as it seems! There were some good things that came out of it, after all.
- I did have fun, at least, which is more than I can probably say for most of the other people around here.
- There were at least fifty men there in that battle, but I don’t remember exactly how many people were watching.
- It’s got to be at least five meters tall! I didn’t think you’d be able to make something so large!
Tip To Remember The Difference
It’s time to refer you to a quick tip that should help clear up the differences between the right and wrong forms. Once you’ve understood this, you’ll have no trouble with it!
We typically say “at least” to give people a breath or to allow them to pause to think about good things. We can remember this pause as the space between the two words. That’s why “at least” is your best choice and the only grammatically correct one.