I'm not sure whether a "the" should be added before the "most" in this phrase. Or are they both OK but have different meaning?

  • In this case they’re pretty much identical.
    – Jim
    Feb 18 '16 at 4:25
  • Perhaps instead of two phrases mentioned, it is better to say "The book that has influenced me the most is ...."
    – k1eran
    Feb 20 '16 at 1:13

The meaning of those phrases is the same. I've been looking around to see if one is "more correct" than the other. According to the entry for "most" (adverb) in Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged:

1 a : to the greatest or highest degree : to the greatest extent
"the book that pleased him most"

That would seem to indicate that the correct usage is without "the" in that construction. The definition continues to give an example of the use of "the most" to form the superlative of an adjective or adverb, e.g., "the most beautiful woman," but that's a different usage than in your example.

  • 1
    I had been using the "the most" until someone corrected me that "the" was redundant. But today I just read the expression "the work that influenced him the most" on New York Times and thus got confused...Seems that they are both correct. Many thanks! Feb 18 '16 at 7:17

Both expressions are used as adverb in superlative form. Google shows that the shortened version is preferred, but the longer one is still used all the same.

Google ngrams

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