A newspaper is the only kind of reading that is almost universal

How do we understand this sentance in terms of grammar ?

This has a meaning :

  • A newspaper is the only kind of reading for almost universal
  • There are things that almost people read and it is the only one, newspaper.

Hence in my thought,

  • A newspaper is the only kind + almost universal is reading
  • A newspaper is the only kind of reaing that almost universal is

Hence please, why is the order of almost universal and is changed ?

  • 1
    Are you sure you haven't omitted the before only? The sentence would make sense with that addition. Feb 11, 2020 at 10:37
  • Thank you for your correction.
    – HK Lee
    Feb 11, 2020 at 10:39
  • 1
    OK. There are many kinds of reading [matter]. Only one kind is almost universal. A newspaper is that one. Feb 11, 2020 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


The adverb "almost" is qualifying the word it precedes - "universal" - to mean that it is "not quite universal", or "very nearly universal".

Without "almost", the sentence would be a very sweeping statement that suggests everybody in the whole world reads newspapers - and that is simply not true.

Saying that reading newspapers is almost universal allows for the fact that some people do not read newspapers, and maybe a few countries or even cultures are exceptions to that rule. As written, it seems a reasonable statement that reading newspapers is closer to being universal than other kinds of reading.

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