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General Writing and Grammar Help/Make the most of - make the most out of

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Question
Dear Ted:

Do you say, "to make the most OF something" or "to make the most OUT OF something"?

If both are possible, do they mean the same thing?

If not, when should I use each of them?

Would you please give me some examples?

Many, many thanks for your kind help.

Paolo

Answer
Dear Paolo:

Do you say, "to make the most OF something" or "to make the most OUT OF something"?

If both are possible, do they mean the same thing?

If not, when should I use each of them?

*** They mean the same thing and they can be interchanged.  "Most OF something" is preferred, because using two prepositions [out and of] is usually unnecessary. Quite frequently, "the most out of" is used with the verb "get."  "Get the most out of" is an idiomatic expression.

Would you please give me some examples?

EXAMPLES:

I do what I can to get the most out of life.

I try to get the most out of my employees.

Mary knows how to make the most of her talents.

They designed the advertisements to make the most of the product's features.

*** Paolo, although this is not true in EVERY case, "get the most" sounds passive.  You'll take what you can GET.

*** Use "make" when you want to emphasize the DOER'S ACTIONS.  "Mary MAKES" is much more active than "Mary GETS."

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.

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

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