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Is one of those sentences wrong?

Ich muss mindestens bis 15:00 arbeiten.
Ich muss bis mindestens 15:00 arbeiten.

I’d intuitively say that bis after mindestens is wrong, but on the other hand, I’d usually not even notice this use if someone speaks to me.

5

Both are correct. In

Ich muss mindestens bis 15:00 arbeiten.

mindestens refers (or could refer) to the whole sentence, in

Ich muss bis mindestens 15:00 arbeiten.

it refers only to 15:00. In this case there is little difference in meaning.

  • Thanks for the response. What do you mean by "refers to the whole sentence"? I guess the intention behind the sentence is clear - so if there's a difference in meaning, which version is off? – Nikolaj-K Dec 8 '15 at 20:00
  • @NikolajK: I mean grammatically. Mindestens is an adverb. Wikipedia says An adverb is a word that modifies a verb, adjective, another adverb, determiner, noun phrase, clause, or sentence. So, in this context, I meant mindestens modifies the whole sentence. – user568 Dec 8 '15 at 20:22
  • @NikolajK: The more I think about it the less I think it's true. But certainly placing it between bis and 15:00 ties mindestens closer to bis 15:00. As I said, there is no (or close to no) difference in meaning. – user568 Dec 8 '15 at 20:32
  • Compare: "well, at least I have to work until 15:00", and "Well, I have to work until at least 15:00". – n1k31t4 Dec 13 '15 at 14:14

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