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Most / Most of the

A quantity of an unspecific or specific group

students
 

 

Most  vs. Most of the

MOST STUDENTS

Use most to refer to a quantity of an unspecific group.  We use most when we are speaking in general and do not have a specific group of people or things in mind.

Most students ask questions.

All students want  A's.

Many students want  less homework.

A few students stayed for a review session. (some)

Few students had to stay for a review session. (not many)

MOST OF THE STUDENTS

Use most of the X to refer to a quantity of a specific group. Note the expression includes a phrase defining the number to a specific group.

Most of the students in my English class ask questions.
most — specific to those who are in my English class

All of the students in my class want  A's.
all — specific to those who are in my class

Many of the students in my school want less homework.
many — specific to those who are in my school

A few of the students who have low grades stayed for a review.
a few (some) — specific to those who have low grades)

Few of the students who have low grades stayed for a review.
few (not many) — specific to those who have low grades)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of

Several vs. Amount

students studying
 

 

A number of  vs. The number of

A NUMBER OF

A number of means several. When a verb follows this phrase, it is plural.

A number of students study engineering.  (unspecific group)

 

A number of the students in my class are honor students.  (specific)

A number of the students there received scholarships.    (specific)

We couldn't count a number of students because they were unregistered.    (unspecific group, unknown quantity)

THE NUMBER OF

 The number of states a quantity, an exact or inexact amount. When a verb follows this phrase, it is singular: is (equals, has risen, has decreased, has increased)

The number of students is forty.   (an unspecific group, an exact quantity – forty.)  

The number of the students in my class is thirty / low / high.   (a specific group, an exact – thirty – or an  inexact quantity – low, high)  

The number of the students in my class is unexpected.   (a specific group, an inexact quantity)  

We couldn't count the number of students in my class because many were unregistered.    (a specific group, an inexact quantity – many.)

 

Pop-Q  " Quantity"
Also see Quantity Phrases (agreement) .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Mistakes

Errors and Solutions

 

 

 

Error and Solution

ERROR

*Most of students have a good time Saturday night.

(A mixed expression: use "most" or "most of the".)  

*Some of people don't care what they do in public.

(A mixed expression: use "some" or "some of the".) 

We are noticing that the number of students are buying their textbooks online.

SOLUTION

Most students have a good time on Saturday night.

Most of the students in college have a good time on Saturday night.

Some people don't care what they do in public.

Some of the people I know don't care what they do in public.

We are noticing that a number of students are buying their textbooks online.

 

*Yellow highlighted words are examples of incorrect usage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Practice 1

Movies on Demand

watching tv
 

 

Examine the use of  most /most of and a/the number of .

  1. Select your response. 
  2. Compare your response to the feedback by clicking the "check" or "check 1-14" button.

on demand – whenever a person wants  (mail order, download, or streaming)
Blu-Ray – a high resolution format; HD

 

1.
Most movies are available on DVD in Blu-Ray format.






2.
 Most of the movies that we see are on our home theater system.  (theatre Br-Eng).





3.
A number of people who prefer to watch movies at home use mail-order movies or download them online.






4.
The number of movies that are available on Blu-Ray is increasing every month.






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Note the verb "is" agrees with the quantifier "number"   quantifier agreement

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