Saturday, July 14, 2012

most vs. most of the

Should you write most students or most of the students?

Well, it depends on whether you are referring the word students to group of real students or students in general.

See here: most students vs. most of the students

1. Use of the after words such as all, much, most, some, a few, a little, and many when followed by a concrete noun.

  • Most of the students on the classroom were new.
In the above sentence the phrase in the classroom makes the noun students real and concrete.
  • Most of the work that our mentor assigns is interesting.
In the sentence above the clause that our mentor assigns makes the noun work real and concrete.

2. Don't use of the when the noun is generic.

  • Most people like Indian food. Here the writer means people in general, not a real, concrete group of people.
  • Most household chores are boring. Here the household chores, in general, are boring.
3. Never use of without the or another modifier in quantity expressions.
  • Most of the workers are absent today.
  • All of their documents were missing.

Concrete Nouns and Generic Nouns

A generic noun is a symbol for whole group of people, places, or things in general. It represents any and all members of a group.
  • A dog is a loyal companion implies any dog is a loyal companion.
  • Dogs are loyal companions imply all dogs are loyal companions.
  • Do you like tea?
In the above sentence the word tea is a generic noun. It is a symbol for tea in general. It doesn't refers to real tea that you can drink, smell or taste.

A concrete noun refers to a real and concrete person, place, or thing.
  • The tea is strong implies the tea that I am drinking right now is strong.
  • You look exhausted. Would you like some tea? In this sentence the tea is the real tea that you would like to drink.