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    #1

    all /all the

    Hello!

    While revising indefinite pronouns I've faced some difficulties with the usage of all/all the and most/most of the. I know the rules, but when it came to exercises, I found myself confused. Could someone please have a look at the sentences below and correct me if my logic failed me?

    All the chairs, tables and bookcases in the office were white - Im not talking about pieces of furniture in general, but about some definite ones.

    All the people in this room are my friends. -Again, I'm talking about some definite people.

    All the apples on that apple tree were red. - That's a bit more difficult, bit I gues I can apply the same logical approach.

    Most tables in this room have three legs.
    Most streets in the city centre are quite long. - That's what my book says, but I'd use 'most of the' in both sentences following the same logic as with 'all'.

    I'd be very grateful if someone could clarify it for me.

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    #2

    Re: all /all the

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Hello!

    While revising indefinite pronouns I've faced some difficulties with the usage of all/all the and most/most of the. I know the rules, but when it came to exercises, I found myself confused. Could someone please have a look at the sentences below and correct me if my logic failed me?

    All the chairs, tables and bookcases in the office were white - Im not talking about pieces of furniture in general, but about some definite ones.

    All the people in this room are my friends. -Again, I'm talking about some definite people.

    All the apples on that apple tree were red. - That's a bit more difficult, bit I gues I can apply the same logical approach.

    Most tables in this room have three legs.
    Most streets in the city centre are quite long. - That's what my book says, but I'd use 'most of the' in both sentences following the same logic as with 'all'.

    I'd be very grateful if someone could clarify it for me.
    The rule is that "all of X" is a single whole, while "all X" is a set of many things. The streets and tables in your last example are all individual pieces, not grouped. Therefore , "of the" is not said, according to the rule.

    But in fact this is a general principle rather than an ironclad rule. You will often encounter people saying "all/most" and "all/most of the" in a way that seems odd to you: either because the idea in their minds did not match yours, or simply because they had not obeyed the rule precisely.

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    #3

    Re: all /all the

    Thanks Abaka, but I'm not sure I got it
    Do you want to say that both senteces below are correct?

    most tables in this room have three legs
    all tables in this room have three legs?


    Or if the last two sentences in my previous post about tables and streets are ok, does that mean that all of my 'all' sentences were incorrect?

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    #4

    Re: all /all the

    Quote Originally Posted by Verona_82 View Post
    Thanks Abaka, but I'm not sure I got it
    Do you want to say that both senteces below are correct?

    most tables in this room have three legs
    all tables in this room have three legs?


    Or if the last two sentences in my previous post about tables and streets are ok, does that mean that all of my 'all' sentences were incorrect?
    I think we use 'of the' to refer to a quantity of a specified group.
    All of the tables in this room have three legs.

    Just 'most' refers to a quantity of a general, unspecified group.
    most tables have four legs.

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    #5

    Re: all /all the

    My own belief is that where a noun without all/most is preceded by a determiner, then we can use all/most with or without of:

    My colleagues are British. All/Most (of) my colleagues are British

    The streets in the city centre are long. All/Most (of) the streets in the city centre are long.

    When the noun is not preceded by a determiner, we do not use of:

    Bulbs sprout in spring. All/Most bulbs sprout in spring.

    We also use all/most of in front of personal pronouns.

    All of them passed the test. All/Most they/them passed the test.

    This seems to make life simpler - so long as you are confident about using determiners! The slight confusion with such examples as:

    Most tables in this room have three legs

    is that in some circumstances we can say:

    1. Tables in this room have three legs. or: 2. The tables in this room have three legs.

    (Why this is so is something to be discussed in a separate thread about determiners and articles). So, in #1 we would use all/most, and in #2 all/most of.

    The same 'rules' apply to: much, many, (a) little, less, (a) few, fewer, some, any.

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