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What is the difference between "most every" and "almost every"? Do they differ in amount?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Most, as an adverb, can be used informally to mean “almost”. In that sense, there is no difference in meaning between “most every” and “almost every”, except that the first one is informal.

I should add that the Corpus of Contemporary American English has 290 occurrences of “most every”, compared to 5027 for “almost every”. The second alternative is thus vastly favoured, at least in written American English.

In the British National Corpus, “most every” returns 4 occurrences, while “almost every” returns 788 hits. It thus confirms what commenters have said, that “most every” is a regionalism.

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...and regional. – bye Feb 17 '11 at 15:11
To extend a little: though they do not have fixed amounts, "most every" might be 75% of something, whereas "almost every" implies something closer to all of them. – horatio Feb 17 '11 at 15:12
I don't think "most every" occurs anywhere in the UK. – Colin Fine Feb 17 '11 at 16:13
@Colin, I've updated with results from the BNC – F'x Feb 17 '11 at 18:54

Most every is a very informal version of almost every. Both phrases mean the same thing, but one would be hard-pressed to find most every in formal contexts.

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