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It is common in English to begin the last paragraph of a letter with "the last but not least". What is the German equivalent for this phrase and what are the similar structures that one can use for the same reason?

  • 5
    You might want to double-check the phrase and its use. – Stephie Oct 19 '16 at 19:52
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    I woudn't 100% agree with the statement about English – c.p. Oct 19 '16 at 20:42
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    Funnily enough, whenever we have a team meeting at work (which is held in German), always, when my boss comes to the last point in the agenda he says in English "and last but not least" (he is native German) Note: "last but not least" means that being the last addressed is not less important, but only out of ordering/chance. – dave_alcarin Oct 19 '16 at 21:50
  • @c.p. Perhaps it is not that common, however, I have read in Strunk's The Elements of Style that it is a good practice to leave something interesting to the last part of a writing and I thought beginning such a statement with "the last but not least" sounds good. – Mehdi Sadeghi Oct 20 '16 at 9:55
  • @dave_alcarin to express my gratitude in the last paragraph I would have used this phrase in English, and that's how I tried to use it in the German letter too. – Mehdi Sadeghi Oct 20 '16 at 9:59
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One common way to say this is nicht zuletzt or also nicht zu vergessen. For an educated audience you can also leave it untranslated - it is even listed in the Duden dictionary. These are also the most frequent options listed in Linguee's collection of bilingual texts and the ones that this Zeit article about the phrase suggests.

  • +1 leaving untranslated. As I commented in the question, my boss says it always in English. – dave_alcarin Oct 19 '16 at 21:52
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Those expressions are used by German native speakers:

  • zu guter Letzt

    Ich darf nun, zu guter Letzt, unseren Ehrengast, Hofrat Primarius Doktor Stein um ein paar abschließende Worte bitten.

  • nicht zuletzt

    Ich möchte nicht zuletzt auch den vielen Freiwilligen danken, die so aufopfernd mitgeholfen haben.

  • last, but not least
    (this English term can be used as it is in a German conversation)

    Ich komme nun, last, but not least, zum wichtigsten Punkt meiner Aufzählung, dem Impact des Projekts auf unser Unternehmen.

similar (but not exactly equivalent) terms are:

  • letztendlich

    Letztendlich kommt es darauf an, dass wir dabei einen Gewinn erzielen.

  • schlussendlich

    Die Heimmannschaft konnte schlussendlich doch noch ein Tor schießen.

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I think, it's not the same, but I would say - zu guter Letzt. Just because I think it sounds pretty :)

  • Indeed, it is not the same, but something different. Why are you offering it as an answer then? – Matthias Oct 19 '16 at 20:46
  • Because you can not say it the same way in german? And it's close to it and as I wrote I think it's pretty. And because it is my answer, I would translate it like that. – user24072 Oct 19 '16 at 21:09
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    Zu guter Letzt doesn't mean exactly the same, but is used in the same way: the attribute gut wants to express that the order has no meaning. You can't find an english expression for this either. – AmigoJack Oct 20 '16 at 6:54

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