Above all

I have another question about the use of “above all”. Can someone explain me?

Thank you!!

What is the question about the use of ‘above all’?

Hi Colin. My question is about the use of “above all”. Can you give me some examples?

See these 56 examples:


Google is your friend. And Tatoeba.

Above all means, the most important thing, which values more then any other.

I can’t see this page… :frowning: sorry

One example to start the list for you:

You can speak Spanish and a little Italian, but above all, you want to learn English.

Yes you tend to use it when you are listing things, and you want to say which one of those things is the most important:

Jane sends her husband to the shops. She says to him ‘John we need several things: some apples, a few bananas and a pear; but above all you must buy me wine!’

She means that she needs the fruit, but even if John forgets everything else; she absolutely must have her wine. Maybe it might be useful to think of it being above all the other items on the list in order of preference?

It is not necessarily always used with a list, however. Here is another example:

Richard believes in honesty above all else.

Richard thinks that honesty is the most important of all qualities. He thinks for example that he should always be honest even if by telling the truth he might upset someone. He may think, for example, that it is important to be kind to his wife; however he thinks being honest is the most important thing ABOVE ALL. So when she asks him ‘do you like my new dress?’ he would always be honest and say ‘no, it makes you look fat!’ despite knowing that this would be a crushing blow to her self-esteem and hence, would not be very kind.

My Oxford English dictionary has the entry:

Above all (else). More so than anything else: he was concerned above all to speak the truth.

Having the else there makes it’s meaning clearer. He was concerned above all else, to speak the truth. He was concerned with speaking the truth more than anything else.