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Consider these sentences

In this school, most of the children are from the Chinese community.

In this school, most the children are from the Chinese community.

In this school, most of children are from the Chinese community.

In this school, most children are from the Chinese community.

The first one is definitely grammatically correct, as it's an example from Oxford Dictionary, how about the others?

I guess the last one is also grammatical, since an English tutorial says

before most nouns in english, you have to use an article

in the pattern of most + countable nouns.

  • The second and third ones won't count for anything. It's not English. – Tim Mar 18 at 12:18
  • (2) and (3) are ungrammatical. (4) is possible, but (1) is best because it makes it clear that the meaning is 'most of the children in the school' and not 'most children' generally. – Kate Bunting Mar 18 at 12:40
  • @KateBunting You mean those attending the school? I take the definite article as denoting something the listener expects or knows to be true, so removing it feels like a sloppy way to say the same thing but leaving open, in the most literal of interpretations, the possibility that there are other children residing in the school building (not attending the school), although that might as well be concluded from the (not normally) vague introductory phrase In this school. – userr2684291 Mar 18 at 14:59
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The following are not grammatically correct:

In this school, most the children are from the Chinese community.

("most" cannot be followed by an article ("the"/"a"))

In this school, most of children are from the Chinese community.

("of children" is not grammatically correct, it requires a definite article or some other specifier before "children")

The following are both grammatically correct:

In this school, most of the children are from the Chinese community.
In this school, most children are from the Chinese community.

In this case, they mean basically the same thing, because you've specified the particular population you're talking about beforehand ("In this school"). However, it is important to note that if the context is not specified, the two forms do not necessarily mean the same thing:

most of the children are from the Chinese community.

Using "the children" in this construct says you are talking about a specific group of children (presumably mentioned previously, or implied by context), and that most of that specific group are from the Chinese community.

most children are from the Chinese community.

"most children", on the other hand generally implies you are talking about "most children in general". That is, of all possible children (in the area, in the state, in the world, etc), most of then are from the Chinese community.

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  • Thanks for your comprehensive explanation. In the last paragraph, does "of all possible children" mean "among all possible children"? – WXJ96163 Mar 19 at 0:25
  • Yes, "of all possible children" means the same thing as "among all possible children". – Foogod Mar 19 at 13:46
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"Most children" has no article; even with additional context, it may range from the children currently in a single room to the children in the world since humans evolved. In other words, it is extremely vague. It will usually be making a statement about a majority of all children everywhere.

"Most of the children" clearly refers to some particular set of children that presumably is clear from context.

Articles are important in English.

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