at most vs. at the very most vs. at the utmost

Hi,

I’m not sure I understand how to use these four expressions. I’ve compiled four sentences. Which sentences sit right with you?

  1. If push comes to shove he will outlay $100 at most.
  2. If push comes to shove he will outlay $100 at the very most.
  3. If push comes to shove he will outlay $100 at the utmost.
  4. If push comes to shove he will outlay $100 at the outmost.

Thanks.

All of them other than 4… but possibly that’s just a typo!

Hi OTS,

1 and 2, yes. Definitely not 4. And 3 seems to need a noun after ‘utmost’,

Alan

Thank you, Bev and Alan!

Hi Alan,

You said a noun is missing after “utmost”. Could you tell me what noun you think fits best here?

Thanks again.

Not a typo, I meant it :)))
(although I was proven wrong by you and Alan)

Hi,

What I meant was that I associate ‘utmost’ with expressions like ‘utmost difficulty/hardship’ and so on. It doesn’t really work with the way you have used ‘utmost’.

Alan

Hello,

Is this a very fancy way of saying that if he has no other choice/only if he must he will spend a maximum of 100$?

Thank you

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the clarification!

Hi Cristina,

That’s the way I intended it. I don’t know how it comes across to native speakers though. Only they can tell :wink:

Thanks Tort – you really make use of them idioms! :slight_smile:

So true…

… at the utmost’ works for me, Tort… I would assume that you were talking about the utmost that he is prepared to pay.

Here’s a different context taken from a dictionary:
the extreme limit or extent: His patience was taxed to the utmost.

Though ‘at the uttermost’ works too!

Yes, I meant to say that.

May I pick your brain some more? :slight_smile:
Are these phrases mean more or less the same then?

  1. At the utmost
  2. At the uttermost
  3. At most
  4. At the very most

(I tried Googling the first two and came up empty handed)

Thanks again.

to outlay … lend or spend?
Outlaw verbing!

The utmost I can do is to help out with £1 as I’m the poorest little creature on earth. But a very friend of mine, the good-natured mole, may pitch in with £9 or even £10 at the very most. So if push comes to shove, with a little help He or She may lay out altogether at most £hmm???
Not surprisingly, with my one-and-one-is-one intelligence, I’ll never have an outlay. At least I’m a creature of uttermost beauty from the outermost reaches of outer space, to say the least.

Ahoi

Beeesneees/Alan/Our Tort System,

  1. If he comes to the party he will spend $100 at most.
  2. If he comes to the party he will spend $100 at the very most.
  3. If he comes to the party he will spend $100 at the utmost limit.
    Please correct all.
    Thanks.

3 is incorrect.

You might say
… the utmost/uttermost limit he will spend is $100

Beeesneees,

  1. If he comes to the party he will spend at most $100.
  2. If he comes to the party he will spend almost $100.
  3. If he comes to the party he will spend at the maximum $100.
    Are they correct? If not please correct them.
    Thanks.
  1. Not as natural a word order as your first example.
  2. OK, but does not mean the same as ‘at most’.
  3. … he will spend a maximum of $100. OR … he will spend $100 maximum.