English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Possible Duplicate:
Do I need to put “the” before “most” in this sentence?

I've always thought you need the definite article 'the' before the superlative of an adjective, except when the comparison is made within the same subject: The swimming pool is deepest here.

Some people say 2 is the more idiomatic. Is this true?

  1. The most tuna are caught in early November.
  2. Most tuna are caught in early November.
share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by jwpat7, simchona, kiamlaluno, Matt E. Эллен, Mitch Jan 15 '12 at 15:56

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

"Most" is not a superlative, so the examples aren't appropriate. Now if you said "The biggest tuna...", yes, "the" is required. You might be able to say "Biggest tuna..." but it sounds awkward to me (native AE speaker). – mkennedy Jan 9 '12 at 4:36
I thought here 'most' is the superlative of 'many.'... – Sssamy Jan 9 '12 at 5:16
I would say 'all' is the superlative of 'most' or 'many.' – mkennedy Jan 9 '12 at 5:25
It seems the above thread deals with 'most,' the superlative modifier of 'common,' although the present thread inquires if the superlative of 'many' needs 'the.' I'd appreciate if you would help me with it. – Sssamy Jan 9 '12 at 7:20
@jwpat7 Although the answer is very similar, the question is different, since it is coming from a different direction. This question is based on the, incorrect, assumption that the two sentences mean the same thing, the correction of assumption that also answers the question that referred to. For this reason, I would say that this is not a duplicate. – Paul Wagland Jan 9 '12 at 17:15

These say two different things.

The most tuna are caught in early November.

This means more tuna is caught in early November than any other comparable time frame. Here, 'most' is a superlative meaning "the amount that is greatest". It means the quantity of tuna caught in early November is greater than anything comparable, which would be tuna caught during other comparable time frames.

Most tuna are caught in early November.

This means that the majority of tuna that are caught are caught in early November. Here, 'most' is an intensifier meaning "more than half".

So, for example:

The most births occur in August and September

This is true, more births occur in those months than any other comparable time frame.

Most births occur in August and Septmeber.

This is false. In fact, most births occur in the other 10 months.

share|improve this answer
+1 great example – MετάEd Jan 9 '12 at 15:37

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.