Are you highlighting the most important thing at the end of a list? While it’s uncommon to do this, you might want to highlight its importance with a phrase like “last and foremost.”
But is “last and foremost” correct?
This article will explore that question and give you another way to say “last and foremost.”
Is It Correct to Say “Last and Foremost”?
“Last and foremost” is grammatically correct but uncommon in English. It sounds unusual, but it implies that the last thing on your list is the most important thing to pay attention to. For example, you might say, “last and foremost, we must care for our elders.”
Here are a few more examples to help you understand more about it:
- First, we should work together. Second, we should try again. Last and foremost, I believe we should trust each other.
- Firstly, let’s discuss options. Secondly, we could look into other options. Last but foremost, we should settle on the same idea.
As you can see, “last and foremost” is correct and allows you to highlight the most important part of a list.
Generally, you’ll want to include the most important thing at the start of a list. That way, you’ll draw your readers’ attention to it straight away.
That’s why it’s common to see “first and foremost” written. It suggests that something is the most pressing matter and must be tended to before anything else.
With that said, there’s nothing wrong with changing where you place the most important item on a list. It’s up to you to place it wherever works best. Sometimes, that means it can go at the end.
Now we’ve covered that it is indeed correct to use “last and foremost,” it’s time to look at alternatives. If you’re uncomfortable using the phrase, we’ve gathered some great suggestions on what to say instead of “last and foremost.”
Other Ways to Say “Last and Foremost”
Other ways to say “last and foremost” are “last but by no means least,” “last but not least,” and “and finally.”
These are the most useful ways to draw attention to the last listed item. They suggest that the final item is equally or more important than the previous ones.
1. Last but by No Means Least
“Last but by no means least” is a great alternative for “last and foremost.” It’s much more common, meaning that native speakers prefer using it in speaking and writing.
You can use it informally to suggest that something is very important. It doesn’t strictly mean that something is the most important thing in a list, but it shows the reader that they need to pay attention to the final point.
You can use it when including a vital piece of information at the end of a list.
“Last” suggests that it’s the final thing to say. “By no means least” is a colloquial way to show that something isn’t the “least,” even though it comes at the end of a list.
Here are some examples to help you with it:
- Last but by no means least, I would like to introduce you to the new guy in town, Darren Waterford!
- Last but by no means least, you need to direct your questions to Cheryl now. She’ll help you.
2. Last but Not Least
“Last but not least” is an informal synonym showing that something is not the least important piece of information in a list.
Generally, “last and foremost” suggests that something is the most important thing on a list. “Foremost” is a superlative term suggesting that nothing is more important.
“Not least” is not a superlative term. Instead, it’s more comparative. You should use it to show that something isn’t the least important thing, though it might not be the most important either.
These examples will show you how it works:
- Last but not least, I would appreciate your time while you listen to my plans. I think it’ll be good for you.
- Last but not least, does anyone here object to anything that we said? Now is the time to speak up.
3. And Finally
You should use “and finally” if you’re looking for a more professional alternative. It sounds much more formal than “last and foremost,” making it a more suitable option in business contexts.
However, you should stick to it in formal speaking rather than writing. It’s not common to use “and finally” in written cases. “Finally” works well, but you should leave “and” out when writing formal emails.
Dear Mr. Beckett,
I would like to help you with this. Finally, can I suggest Mario for the promotion?
Including “and” works well in spoken English because it stresses the impact of the “final” thing on a list.
Here are some examples to show you what we mean:
- And finally, we come to the most pressing matter. Let’s determine which one of us takes this home.
- And finally, there has been an agreement. That should be everything we need before moving forward.
“Lastly” is a great formal synonym showing that something comes up last on a list. However, it doesn’t highlight importance as well as “last and foremost.”
In fact, “lastly” doesn’t highlight the final item’s importance. It just shows that something is the last item on a list.
Still, it can work well when you’re trying to list things in formal situations. Most readers will determine whether the item after “lastly” is more important than the other things you wrote.
Check out these examples to help you:
- Firstly, this is not the only way to go about it. Lastly, you need to sort yourself out before moving forward.
- First, I don’t care. Second, I knew you’d say that. Lastly, why are you still wasting my time?
5. One Final Note
“One final note” is a great example of how to say “last and foremost” in a more familiar way. Native speakers use “one final note” when they want to add one last item before finishing a list.
Sometimes, “one final note” refers to an afterthought. That could mean you’re not discussing the most important thing since you almost forgot to include it.
However, using “final” in “one final note” suggests that something deserves recognition and should be seen as more important than whatever you said previously in the list.
These examples will show you how it looks:
- Oh, and one final note. I would really appreciate it if this didn’t get back to Mara. I don’t need her involved.
- On one final note, could you please sort this out with the rest of the team? They trust you more.
6. Not to Mention
“Not to mention” is a conversational phrase used to show that there is something new to add to a list. You can use it when you don’t think it seems obvious that something is part of the list.
For example, you might say “not to mention” to tell a colleague they must come to work tomorrow. This should be obvious to the colleague if it’s a normal working day. Although, it’s worth including it to remind them how important it is that they show up.
Here are a few examples to show you more about it:
- This is how it’s going to happen. Not to mention that we have considered all other options to continue this.
- We tried it that way before. Not to mention, some issues still need to be petered out.