Most is a term of quantity – ‘She scored the most goals’ and ‘He ate most of the cake.’
Almost is a measure of qualifying something else – ‘We are almost there’ and ‘You’re almost to the top.’
Although the two words are similar in sound, they are very different and should not be used in the same way. A simple way to remember the difference: Almost is nearly all done
Writing with disjointed ideas that don’t flow from one to another is not easy to read and not a good advertisement for you. So how can you make your writing flow?
Is maintaining the flow of ideas in your writing something you consciously work on?
Earlier in the week I wrote a post about products being exclusively available in one department store being a misleading statement (things are either exclusive or they aren’t!) and it reminded me of an article I wrote in my newsletter some time ago (it was my November 2004 newsletter to be precise!)
Here is what I wrote back then:
Don’t over qualify
There are a group of words that have very precise meanings – these words don’t need any qualifying to make them strong, and in fact it is grammatically wrong to attempt qualifying them.
For instance, the word unique means one of a kind so something is either unique or it isn’t – ‘very unique’, ‘particularly unique’, ‘most unique’ and similar combinations are unnecessary.
Other words that are commonly misused in this way are:
Electrocuted – the word actually means to be killed by electricity, not receive an electric shock.
Perfect – means there can be no improvement; adding ‘very’ to it doesn’t serve any purpose.
Fatal – means deadly. An accident is fatal or it isn’t, it can’t be ‘very fatal’ or ‘really fatal’.
In most of these examples, they can be qualified by using a word such as ‘almost’ or ‘nearly’; the word unique, however, can’t be qualified at all.
What other words can you think of that are absolute in their own right?
I recently saw a sign on the back of a bus that included ”available exclusively at no other department stores”.
It left me wondering was it exclusive to the advertiser or not? It was the only department store stocking the product but it could well be available at other places which means it wasn’t exclusive at all!
Let’s look at what exclusive really means…
exclusive: entirely, not shared or including others
The reporter had an exclusive story as the witness spoke only to her.
Exclusive is an absolute term so it can’t be qualified – that is, something is exclusive or it isn’t, there is no middle option. “I’ll give you and the other TV stations an exclusive interview” and “the exclusive club is open to everyone” don’t make sense.