At Any Rate – Catch Phrase

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Hello, I’m Dan and welcome to Catch Phrase, Learn English with Storynory.

In each episode, I explain a phrase from one of the many audio stories that can be downloaded, for free, from Storynory.com.

Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland has some fantastic phrases in English, and today we’re going to be looking at a phrase you hear a lot in English conversation – ‘at any rate’.

Let’s listen to Natasha reading from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In this clip Alice is wondering how to get through the tiny door at the bottom of the rabbit-hole. Listen out for the phrase ‘at any rate’. Do you know what it might mean?

Either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them.

OK, so in that example, ‘at any rate’ is a synonym for ‘anyway’ or ‘in either case’. So whether it was because the locks were too large or the key was too small, at any rate, Alice couldn’t open the door.

Let’s listen again:

Either the locks were too large, or the key was too small, but at any rate it would not open any of them.

So at any rate is a good way of saying ‘anyway’ or ‘anyhow’. But it also has different meanings:

Here’s another example of the phrase ‘at any rate’ being used in Alice’s adventures in Wonderland. In this clip, the phrase ‘at any rate’ means ‘at least’, or ‘as an alternative’.

Have a listen. Alice is hoping to find another key, but if she can’t find one, what would she take as an alternative?

She went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes.

So if Alice can’t find another key, at any rate, she’d like to find a book that would tell her how to become smaller; how to fold herself up like a telescope.

Well, that’s it for now, but don’t forget to tune in for more English phrases on Catch Phrase. Or at any rate listen to great English stories on Storynory.com

Thanks for listening!