This question is an exact duplicate of:

Most of is used to say quantity of a thing in general, and Most of the is used to say quantity of a specific thing. I think in the world is a specific thing which makes me think that Most countries in the world is right, but I'm not sure.

So what is the right answer?

marked as duplicate by NVZ, FumbleFingers, Drew, Helmar, tchrist Sep 16 '16 at 18:18

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

  • The answers in the older question are rather underwhelming, however. – choster Sep 16 '16 at 16:15
  • The difference is not one of right or wrong, but of necessary content versus padding. For example, you could reduce your wording to "Most countries [do X]" (as The Mauve Kartoffel observes in an answer below) or you lard it up even more—for example, "Most of the countries that exist in the world as we know it today [do X]." Both options are grammatical, so to focus on the question of which is right and which is wrong is to misdirect your attention. – Sven Yargs Sep 16 '16 at 17:00

I think that both versions work, because 'in the world' could be considered as a specific thing and a general thing at the same time. If you speak about 'the world', you speak about this one specific thing - the world. However, 'the world' contains everything that is in it. In that case it is a general thing. An example for a specific thing in that case could be a country - as a part of something bigger and more general (the world).

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