5

Which one of the sentences below is correct both grammatically and conceptually?

  • My teacher said that most of it was correct, with only one exception.

  • My teacher said that all of it was correct, with only one exception.

3

Grammatically, I would say that both are correct, depending on the situation.

My teacher said that 51-99% of it was correct, with only one exception.

My teacher said that most of it was correct, with only one exception.

versus

My teacher said that 100% of it was correct, with only one exception.

My teacher said that all of it was correct, with only one exception.

As you can see, "most" is less than all, but more than half (which is how it gets to be most) whereas "all" is obviously the sum total.

Conceptually, however, you're right: The second one is weird.

How could it all be correct and yet have something wrong?

But if we consider it from this perspective:

My teacher said that all of it, not including the exception, was correct.

My teacher said that all of it was correct, with only one exception.

Then, yes, we could have it "all" be correct because we had not included the exception within that "all."

What do you think? Does this help?

If you take a look at the example sentence in definition one for the word "exception", it may help make things more clear as well.

  • 2
    I would say the first one ("most of, with only one exception") is weird, not the second one. – Michael Hewson Mar 17 '17 at 18:15
  • Heh, @MichaelHewson, reflecting on your comment, I can see what you mean. In my head, I had been thinking that most of it was correct not including the exception and that the rest of it had been weird or something, but not wrong, per se. But yes, I could see how the most of it one is weird, too. – Teacher KSHuang Mar 18 '17 at 13:22
10

The following statement is correct:

My teacher said that all of it was correct, with only one exception.

If you wish to use "most of it", then the sentence is better framed along the lines of:

My teacher said that most of it was correct, the only exception being (go on to elaborate what was wrong).

This is not the same question, but a related/similar one: https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/73649/other-ways-of-saying-except-for-one

  • Perfect answer, thanks! Could you take a look at another one of my questions: ell.stackexchange.com/questions/122768/… – Soha Farhin Pine Mar 17 '17 at 9:45
  • Ah, I've seen that and have commented on it with 2 comments showing how it could be interpreted either way. Essentially, I too agree with 'Teacher KSHuang' that it could be interpreted both ways, and that's why I only left a comment, not an answer. I've just seen your update, its a shame you've lost points over it. – Phylyp Mar 17 '17 at 9:49

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