In Reply to: To begin with posted by Adam on June 04, 2008 at 13:14:
: "TO BEGIN WITH"
: Sometimes it is used in the beginning of a sentence; it means "first of all". Sometimes it is used at the end. Is there a subtle difference between the 2 usages? When used at the end, what does it contribute to the tone? thank you.
: [Situation 1]:
: To begin with, the teacher spoke so quickly that I couldn't understand every word.
: [Situation 2]:
: I was told you were just going to be working in the MC's office, which I wasn't wild about TO BEGIN WITH, but it's my understanding I'd be talking to Brookline and Joyce seeing as how they work for me.
: Please, Mandy. It's not like these people were in our camp TO BEGIN WITH.
: I'll tell you what else. Democrats aren't exactly loved by the beef industry TO BEGIN WITH. We're gonna get killed for causing false panic.
Yes, it can mean different things. In your first example, it means something along the lines of "I'd like to start my remarks by saying..." or "My first complaint is...".
I am beginning with: the teacher spoke so quickly that ... And following that with: her handwriting was so illegible that... And in conclusion: etc.
In your other examples, it simply means "before" or "at the beginning".