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A) What surprises me most about -
B) The thing that surprises me most about -
C) One thing that surprises me most about -

Hi, I always say "the most", but "most" without "the" seems to be used by native English speakers.
I can see "about" as the common denominator of the examples above, I am assuming this has to do with "most" without "the"....maybe?
Help, please...: (
Thank you.

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    You are right about the example sentences you've given. We use "the most" or "most" in all of them and both are fine.

    I understand that you are trying to rationalize how this is possible and construct a grammar rule that explains it. Unfortunately, English doesn't always work this way. Sometimes we say things a certain way just because it's custom or habit. I think this is one of those cases.

    The use of "about" has no connection at all to "the most" or "most" in these sentences. The word is there to introduce the topic of the sentence. E.g.: The thing that surprises me most about the book is the way it ended.

    You could very easily write similar sentences that don't use "about," but still have the interesting quirk you've noticed regarding "the most" / "most" or similar superlatives.
    What surprises me most is that the burglar stole food but not money.
    The part of the film I liked best was the music.
    Tom is the person in the class I like least.

    I think you can say "most" or "the most" interchangeably in the kinds of sentences you presented. Either way conveys the same meaning. If you want to see other comments on this see: http://www.usingenglish.com/forum/ask-teacher/128910-most-vs-most.html

     

    Native speakers will understand you if you say "most" or "the most" in this context. Usually, I say "the most" if "most" is going to be the last word of the sentence or phrase. An example could be:

    (A) "I like that one the most" —I am telling how much I like that one.
    (B) "That one is most appealing" —In this case, the thing I'm referring to is more appealing than the others.

    I hope that helps!


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