General Writing and Grammar Help/usage of the word "most"

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Question
Dear Ted,
Can you use the word "most" in the negative form? In other words, are the following sentences grammatically correct?
1. Most children hate vegetables.
2. Most children dislike vegetables.
3. Most children do not like vegetables.
Or can you only use the word "most" in the positive, i.e. "Most children like vegetables"? When I use the word "most" in the negative, it sounds awkward.

Answer
Dear Glen:

Can you use the word "most" in the negative form? In other words, are the
following sentences grammatically correct?
1. Most children hate vegetables.
2. Most children dislike vegetables.
3. Most children do not like vegetables.
Or can you only use the word "most" in the positive, i.e. "Most children like
vegetables"? When I use the word "most" in the negative, it sounds awkward.

*** Glen, it does not sound "awkward" to me.  "Most" is a qualifier that certainly can be used, and your examples are all correct.

To use a truly negative form, you should use "not."  For example, NOT MANY children like vegetables.  In this instance, you CANNOT use "most."  NOT MOST children is wrong.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

Education/Credentials
B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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