Grammar-QuizzesNoun PhrasesDeterminersQuantifiers › Most vs. Most of the

Most vs. Most of the

Refer to a quantity in a group

Students in class
 

Most  vs. Most of the

MOST STUDENTS

When speaking in general, we use most to refer to a quantity of an unspecific group of people or things. Below, most is a determiner (a quantifier) to the subject noun. Determiners such as a, the, this, some, most and every are placed before the noun. See Determiner List.

SUBJECT NOUN PHRASE REST OF THE CLAUSE
DETERMINER + NOUN  

The students

the [Article]; students [N]

ask questions.

 

Most students

most – quantifier

ask questions.

 

All students

all – quantifier

want less homework. 

Many / Several / A lot of¹ students

¹an exceptional multi-word quantifier

try to earn A's.

 

Some students

need tutoring.  (extra help) 

Few / A few² students

²an exceptional multi-word quantifier

have to repeat the class.

 

*None / *Any students

No students

want to fail. 

MOST OF THE STUDENTS

When speaking specifically, we use most with a prepositional phrase that limits the number to a specific group. Note the prepositional phrase defines the group by including a modifier—an adjective, another prepositional phrase or a clause.                                                

SUBJECT NOUN PHRASE REST OF THE CLAUSE
NOUN + PREP PHRASE  

Those in my class   [PP]

specific to students in my class

ask questions.

 

Most of the students [PP]

an understood (known) group of students

ask questions.

 

All of the students in my English class 

specific to students in my English class

want less homework. 

 

Many / Several / A lot of the students intending to go to college

specific to students intending to go to college

try to earn A's.

 

Some of the students who fall behind

specific to students who fall behind

need tutoring.

 

Few / A few of the students who earn low grades

specific to students who earn low grades

have to repeat the class.

 

None of the students with failing grades

specific to students with failing grades

passed the class.

 

 

A group modifier could be one of the following: an adjective (advanced students), a prepositional phrase (students in my class), a relative clause (students who are applying to college), a reduced clause [nonfinite clause or gerund clause] (students planning to go to college).

¹a lot of (quantity expression) — a large number. "A lot of" is an expression that was formed from a prepositional phrase; however, it no longer has a word-for-word meaning. A lot of people left early. *The lot of people left early. .

²a few (quantity expression) —  a small but sufficient number.  "A few", an expression (the words combine to form a new meaning), is unlike "the few", which is understood literally (word for word).  A few people left early. *The few people left early.  See Little/Few vs. A Little/A few.

Article [Art]; Determiner [Det.]; Gerund [Ger]; Noun [NP]; Prepositional Phrase [PP]; Relative Clause [Rel Cls]

Related pages: Superlatives  | Quantifiers, Determiners, Demonstratives

Also see:  Be the best. / *Be best.  

 

 

 

 

 

A Number of vs. The Number of

Several vs. Amount

students studying
 

A number of  vs. The number of

A NUMBER OF

A number of means several or a lot.  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. A singular verb follows the phrase: 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 unusually 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.)

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

the number – a quantity (e.g., 10, 25, 100); a number – several, a lot; See number.

 

*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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