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  1. #1

    Most vs Most of

    Hello,

    In the context of exams my students often have to answer multiple choice questions. But this time I was extremely puzzled to find the following answer choices (only one answer is allowed) :

    ... students in her school learn 3 languages.

    A) Most of ...
    B) Most ...
    C) The most of ...
    D) Most of the ...


    I suppose answer D) is expected. I cannot bring myself to think that B) is unacceptable, though. May I ask you what you think ?

    With many thanks in advance.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #2

    Re: Most vs Most of

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephan Wilhelm View Post
    Hello,
    In the context of exams my students often have to answer multiple choice questions. But this time I was extremely puzzled to find the following answer choices (only one answer is allowed) :
    ... students in her school learn 3 languages.
    A) Most of ...
    B) Most ...
    C) The most of ...
    D) Most of the ...

    I suppose answer D) is expected. I cannot bring myself to think that B) is unacceptable, though. May I ask you what you think ?
    With many thanks in advance.
    I think that it's a bad question because both answers, B & D, are possible. D might be chosen more often because a "most of the" phrasing is used when it becomes more specified, in this case by, "in her school".

  2. #3

    Re: Most vs Most of

    Thanks a lot, Riverkid. That is just what I thought. Very puzzling for the students though.

  3. #4

    Re: Most vs Most of

    B,D are alright

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #5

    Re: Most vs Most of

    Quote Originally Posted by Stephan Wilhelm View Post
    I suppose answer D) is expected. I cannot bring myself to think that B) is unacceptable, though. May I ask you what you think?
    I agree. Mind you, exam questions often have what appear to be two perfectly good choices. The rule of thumb is to choose the best answer. With that said, there's a clue here (as riverkid mentions):

    Definite: Most of the students in the school.
    => Use "the" when the noun it modifies is defined.

    Ex: Most students learn 3 languages.
    Ex: Most of the students in the school learn 3 languages.

    All the best.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #6

    Re: Most vs Most of

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    I agree. Mind you, exam questions often have what appear to be two perfectly good choices. The rule of thumb is to choose the best answer. With that said, there's a clue here (as riverkid mentions):

    Definite: Most of the students in the school.
    => Use "the" when the noun it modifies is defined.

    Ex: Most students learn 3 languages.
    Ex: Most of the students in the school learn 3 languages.

    All the best.
    From a cursory test run at Google, it seems that I may have been too hasty, ie. wrong, in my belief. I think that this is simply an unfair question that should have been deleted from the test.

    Results 1 - 10 of about 81,400 English pages for "most students in the ".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 36,600 English pages for "most of the students in the "

  5. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #7

    Re: Most vs Most of

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Results 1 - 10 of about 81,400 English pages for "most students in the".
    Not 'unfair'. Just a matter of ellipsis.


    • Join Date: Aug 2006
    • Posts: 3,059
    #8

    Re: Most vs Most of

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Not 'unfair'. Just a matter of ellipsis.
    Ellipsis, I don't necessarily think so, Casi. If it were simply a matter of ellipsis then the distinction between general and specific wouldn't exist.

  6. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970
    #9

    Re: Most vs Most of

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    Ellipsis, I don't necessarily think so, Casi. If it were simply a matter of ellipsis then the distinction between general and specific wouldn't exist.
    On the contrary. Ellipsis is about redundancy. There are two markers that express definiteness here,

    Ex: Most of the students in school study.

    Omit one or the other and specificity still exists,

    Ex: Most students in the school study.
    Ex: Most of the students study. <implied 'in the school'>

    All the best.

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