5

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

3 Answers 3

11

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.

4
  • ...and regional.
    – bye
    Feb 17, 2011 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, 2011 at 15:12
  • 1
    I don't think "most every" occurs anywhere in the UK.
    – Colin Fine
    Feb 17, 2011 at 16:13
  • @Colin, I've updated with results from the BNC
    – F'x
    Feb 17, 2011 at 18:54
2

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.

1

Most every is not used formally because it is incorrect.

It's like saying "we was" is informal. It's not. It's just used by people who haven't learned to use the correct phrase "we were."

Common misunderstanding doesn't mean something is correct.

At the same time, though, language is a living thing. I expect this is an example of the evolution and fragmentation of English.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.