Most means the largest amount:
“YouTube was the most searched keyword on Google in 2021.”
Almost means nearly but not quite:
“I almost missed my train this morning.”
|most [determiner, pronoun] – the largest in number or amount|
|“7-11 has the most convenience stores in Tokyo.”|
|most [adverb] – used to form the superlative of adjectives and adverbs of two or more syllables|
|“She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.”|
|almost [adverb] – nearly, not quite|
|“I woke up late and almost missed the train this morning.” ~ I nearly missed my train|
|most / almost all – These words can sometimes have the same meaning. “I have tried most / almost all of the coffee flavors at this cafe.”|
NEW – test your understanding with a MOST / ALMOST quiz.
Definitions are from – www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com
Most or Almost English grammar
Using most or almost English grammar incorrectly is a common mistake I hear from my private English students. They might tell me something like this:
- “Almost Japanese people like sushi.”
This is incorrect. Almost isn’t the right word choice here. Let’s look at the meaning of almost with some natural example phrases.
Almost is an adverb that means nearly, not quite.
Here are some examples:
- “I almost missed my train this morning.”
I nearly missed my train, I didn’t quite miss it. I was okay!
- “My coffee spilled this morning and it almost went on my new white shirt.”
The coffee nearly spilled on my shirt, it didn’t quite spill on my shirt. Lucky!
*ALMOST is an adverb, it will be used with a past tense verb if we are talking about a past event.
I almost missed my train. (MISSED is the past tense of the verb TO MISS)
…it almost went on my new white shirt. (WENT is the past tense of the verb TO GO)
OR it is used with the verb to be if it’s describing a situation. This often uses an adjective or adverb.
Wait for me! I’m almost ready! (I’m nearly ready. – Ready is an adjective.)
Please hurry, it’s almost 6:00. (The time is nearly 6:00. – 6:00 is an adverb.)
- There is a cute girl in my class. I almost asked her out today at lunch, but I was too scared. I’ll try again tomorrow.
(I nearly asked her out, but I didn’t quite make it.)
- Perry almost made the track team. He’s a good sprinter but wasn’t fast enough in the long-distance races. [Learn to use ENOUGH at my post here.]
(MADE is the past tense of the verb TO MAKE.)
- My jar of change is almost full! I can buy Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch.
(My jar is nearly full. In this sentence FULL is an adjective.)
Photo from Flickr – Link
Most can be a determiner or pronoun that means the largest in number or amount. Here are some examples:
- “7-11 has the most convenience stores in Tokyo.”
7-11 has the largest number of stores, it has more than any other store.
- “I went to Kyoto for 3 days on a business trip but I didn’t see any temples. I was busy working most of the time.”
I spent 3 days in Kyoto, but for the largest amount of that time (those three days) I was working. I had little free time to go sightseeing.
Most will be used with a noun.
…it has the most stores in Tokyo.
I was busy working most of the time.
- Friday it snowed a lot. I spent most of the day inside.
I was inside for the largest amount of the day.
- The subways were running during the snowstorm, but most of the trains stopped.
Many trains were stopped because of the snow, and very few were running.
Most pt. II
Another definition of the determiner most is – more than half of somebody/something; almost all of somebody/something
- Many people have caught the flu this winter. Most of my class was absent today.
More than half of my class was not at school today because they are sick.
- I’m going to take a short break. Most of my work is done.
More than half of my work is done.
- I like most Japanese food.
I like more Japanese food than I dislike.
Did you notice the last definition for most? It said – almost all of somebody/something
I think this is why some ESL students confuse these 2 words. Almost does not equal most, BUT sometimes almost all and most can mean the same thing.
- Most of my friends came to the party.
- Almost all of my friends came to the party.
Almostmy friends came to the party. INCORRECT
Although Though Even Though (English grammar)
Most vs Almost English grammar QUIZ
Test your English!
Printable Most vs Almost Quiz PDF
Download the Quiz as a printable PDF worksheet. Great for teachers to use with private or group classes.
Most or Almost English grammar – recap
Do you remember our first example sentence? It should be:
“Most Japanese people like sushi!” This is correct. The largest number of Japanese people, more than half of them, like sushi.
I like sushi too! How about you? Tell me about where you live and something that most people like in your country.
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