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  1. #1
    toannt82 Guest

    Default the most or a most

    Dear teacher,
    I have two sentences, and as I know the fisrt one is correct but I can not figure out why it is correct.

    1. What we need is a most perfect plan.
    2. What we need is the most perfect plan.

    Thanks a lot,

  2. #2
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
    MikeNewYork is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: the most or a most

    Quote Originally Posted by toannt82
    Dear teacher,
    I have two sentences, and as I know the fisrt one is correct but I can not figure out why it is correct.

    1. What we need is a most perfect plan.
    2. What we need is the most perfect plan.

    Thanks a lot,
    First of all, it is questionable as to whether one can have stages of perfection. How would "most perfect" work if another plan were "perfect"?

    That aside, #2 is the correct choice. If one uses "most" there must be other plans. The definite article is used for a specific plan, the one judged to be the best.

    We could say "a perfect plan", because that means any plan that fits the purpose and is judged to be "perfect".

    You will hear #1, but I would consider it informal at best.

    The Constitution of the US contains the phrase "to form a more perfect union". The indefinite article is OK there, because there are potentially many unions that are more perfect than the original. Had Jefferson said "most perfect", he would have used "the".

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default

    'A most' can be used in other contexts:

    Thank you for a most enjoyable evening.

    Here, as Mike says, it doesn't work.

  4. #4
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    'A most' can be used in other contexts:

    Thank you for a most enjoyable evening.

    Here, as Mike says, it doesn't work.
    Good example, TDOL. :wink:

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