How to use “at all” in English


Everyday English Speaking Courses

Student Question:

I usually hear questions like this: Do you drive at all? Or similar… And they are very confusing for me… I never know if is a positive or negative question and how to answer it. Could you help me on this?

Answer:

“At all” means something like “anything more than zero” or “even a little bit.”

It’s often used in negatives:

  • I don’t eat pork at all.
    = I don’t eat pork – not even a little bit.
  • He doesn’t exercise at all.
    = He does NO exercise
  • The party was no fun at all.
    = There was zero fun, not even a little
  • I can’t sing at all.
    = I have zero singing talent

In questions, the person is inquiring about ANY activity, even small/infrequent:

  • Do you drive at all?
    = Do you drive – even a little bit / infrequently?

If you drive (even only a little bit / occasionally), then the answer is YES.

If you never drive, then the answer is NO.

  • Did he say anything at all?
    = Did he say anything, even just a tiny/short phrase?

Put it into practice!

Leave a comment on the video with your examples:

  • I don’t like ____________ at all.
    Ex) I don’t like rock music at all.
  • I haven’t ___(verb in past participle)___ at all lately.
    Ex) I haven’t watched TV at all lately.

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