He's most approachable first thing in the morning.

I don't understand why I must use "most" and I can't use "The most". I have a little knowledge that "most" is an adverb which amplifies an adjective or a verb.

And "the most" is an adjective which amplifies noun.

Thus, I think "the most" is my answer.

  • You can use either. Dec 22, 2018 at 6:03
  • elt.oup.com/student/oxfordenglishgrammar/advanced/… In this web uses "most". I don't understand why it is "most". Could you give me another information ?
    – Kiw
    Dec 22, 2018 at 6:48
  • 1
    Questions by learners of English may be better asked at ell.stackexchange.com
    – GEdgar
    Jan 1, 2019 at 16:06
  • Most is indeed an adverb (or a quantifier of degree if you prefer) that can modify adjectives. Approachable is an adjective. Most approachable is thus an adjective phrase. Adjective phrases can be nominalised by adding an article: they’re rich (adj.) becomes they’re the rich (noun phrase meaning ‘the rich people’). Generally these are plurals, but with superlatives they can be singular as well: he’s richest (adj.), he’s the richest (i.e., person). So as Jason says, you can use either, and they mean roughly the same thing. Feb 2, 2019 at 17:47

3 Answers 3


According to Merriam-Webster's Dictionary:

most  adverb

1: to the greatest or highest degree  — often used with an adjective or adverb to form the superlative. 

//the most challenging job he ever had.

2: to a very great degree

//was most persuasive.

So we can use 'most' both with or without the definite article. The choice depends on what you mean in the particular case.


‘Most’ is used with an adjective or adverb to form a superlative. It is whether this superlative is in reference to a noun or a verb that determines use of the article. When used with the verb ‘to be’, it helps to look at the superlative as referring to either an object (noun) or an action (verb).

Here is a sentence where the superlative refers to the object (noun):

He’s the most approachable on staff.

This sentence uses ‘the most’ because the superlative refers to the object (an approachable person on staff).

In your sample sentence, however, the superlative refers to the action:

He’s most approachable first thing in the morning.

What’s amplified here is the action of being approachable at a particular time. This person may be extremely unapproachable in general.

In the first sentence of user307254’s answer, the superlative refers to the object (a challenging job he has had), which necessitates ‘the most’.

The second sentence refers to the action (being persuasive) - in this case you would leave off the article.


Briefly, "the most" is used when something is like the best, and just "most" when it is almost the best, let's say, top-10, as far as I know

  • 2
    No. The difference between most and the most has absolutely nothing to do with whether the thing in question is number one or just in the top ten. They both mean the same thing: number one. Without the article, most can also mean ‘very’, but that doesn’t imply any kind of position near the top at all. Feb 2, 2019 at 17:37

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