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I am not sure when I use "most" and "most of the" in a sentence. For example:

Most people / Most of the people in India are not aware of the availability of top-up covers to supplement basic health insurance covers.

Most companies / Most of the companies in Toronto made huge profits this year.

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In the examples you give, "most" and "most of the" are both acceptable. If anything, "Most people are not aware" sounds a little less formal, or a little more American English than British English, but either version sounds perfectly acceptable to any first language English speaker.

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  • Most of the time, this is true, but one needs to be aware of possible idioms that don't work quite the same (such as "Most of the time...").
    – J.R.
    Sep 26, 2017 at 14:41
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    However, "Most times, this is true" would be acceptable (as in "on most occasions"). This comes down more to the fact that "the time" in your example is singular, while "the people in India" and "the companies in Toronto" in the OP's examples are both plural, than to any idiomatic expression.
    – 08Dc91wk
    Sep 26, 2017 at 14:53
  • Yet "Most of the sand on this beach is white" can reduce to "Most sand on this beach is white." Anyhow, I'm not trying to quibble with you, I'm just adding a footnote intended to be helpful for the learner.
    – J.R.
    Sep 26, 2017 at 16:37
  • I think you meant to say it cannot reduce to "most sand"? Most sand is still grammatically correct but I agree with you, it is a less common usage. The main point for the learner is that they are grammatically equivalent, but I agree that it is good to note that there are subtle usage differences.
    – 08Dc91wk
    Sep 26, 2017 at 16:57

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