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  1. #1

    Question about the usage of "most"

    15. _____ important development of the Neolithic age was not in the manufacture of stone tools

    but in the production of food.
    (A) The most
    (B) Most
    (C) Most of
    (D) Of the most
    I think the key is A, but I'm not sure why B is incorrect.
    Cann't we take "most" here as an adj. modifering "development", like "Most fish have fins."?
    Last edited by wandonye; 16-Apr-2006 at 17:15.

  2. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    You are correct, A is the appropriate choice in this case.

    Notice in your example, "Most fish have fins" that most precedes a plural noun, fish. In this case, the use of most is correct. However in the original statement(The most important development of the Neolithic age), most would precede an adjective describing a singular noun.

    Most by itself is usually used to describe a group or large portion. In order to use most to describe the ultimate or primary reason, it must be preceded by an indefinite article (like "the").

  3. #3

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    I knew that. Maybe I didn't make clear my question.:)
    Suppose "most" has the meaning of "a large portion of" here, it modifers development, which is an uncountable noun.
    I think there is no grammar err, isn't it?

  4. #4

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    Quote Originally Posted by Ouisch
    Most by itself is usually used to describe a group or large portion. In order to use most to describe the ultimate or primary reason, it must be preceded by an indefinite article (like "the").
    In my question above, both of the cases are possible. The key point is "most" modifers "developement" or "important".

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    #5

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    Most fish = the majority of fish

    In your example, you mean the number one development. You could have 'Most important developments...', but this is a straight superlative to me.

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    #6

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    Quote Originally Posted by wandonye
    development, which is an uncountable noun.
    I think there is no grammar err, isn't it?
    Not always- if we're talking about progress in general, then it is uncountable, but an individual discovery, step or improvement can be 'a devlopment', and then it can be countable.

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    #7

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    Quote Originally Posted by wandonye
    In my question above, both of the cases are possible. The key point is "most" modifers "developement" or "important".
    Both are not possible, wandonye. "most" is a degree adjective; it means the majority of, whereas "the most", a comparative, notably, a superlative, means above all, the top #1. It modifies the noun phrase 'important development'.

    15. The top #1 / The most important development of the Neolithic age was not in the manufacture of stone tools.

    Here's another example:

    This is my best suit.
    => I have other suits but they aren't as stylish as this one.

    This is the best suit I've ever wore.
    => Of all the suits I have ever worn, this one is above the rest, the ultimate, the top.

    Hope that helps.

  6. #8

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    [QUOTE=Casiopea]Both are not possible, wandonye. "most" is a degree adjective; it means the majority of, whereas "the most", a comparative, notably, a superlative, means above all, the top #1. It modifies the noun phrase 'important development'.
    [QUOTE]

    I think when there is a The, the most important as a whole is the superlative degree of important, and modifers development.
    Last edited by wandonye; 17-Apr-2006 at 13:39.

  7. #9

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    Most fish = the majority of fish

    In your example, you mean the number one development. You could have 'Most important developments...', but this is a straight superlative to me.
    Yeah, this is what I meant.
    In fact I'm apt to Most of the important developments.., but I did not know what's the problem of Most important development.... I see the reason now since development should be countable here.
    BTW, what's the meaning of a straight superlative.
    Maybe I have too many questions

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    #10

    Re: about the usage of "most"

    By a straight superlative, I meant a clear one. People will say things like 'thank you for a most enjoyable day', which is a different sort of use. Here, it was pointing directly to the number one. BTW, 'straight superlative' is not a grammatical term, just a phrase I used.

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