Is it correct to say:

The most money was spent on education.

Saudi Arabia produced the most oil.

And is there a difference between using the most and just most in the aforementioned examples? Is it grammatically correct to say Saudi Arabia produced most oil?

2 Answers 2


Your sentences are correct, but "most" can also be used without the article under different circumstances.

"The most" is used when comparing different quantities.

"Most" is used when considering the proportion of something.

For example:

The government spent money on education, welfare and defense. The most money was spent on education.

This means that of the three, the largest amount of money was spend on education.

If I write

Most government money was spent on education.

then that means that most of the government spending (i.e. more than half) was spent on education.

"Most ..." is equivalent to "Most of the ...".

There are other ways you can use it, for example:

We had the most rainfall since 1897

This is an implicit comparison between years of rainfall.

Russia has the most land area of any country.

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Of all the times of the year, this is the one that has the highest amount of wonder.

Omitting the article would be incorrect in all of the above.

To give more common examples of use without the article:

Most people believe the Earth is round

Most cats prefer meat.

  • Thank you so much, now it's crystally clear! Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 14:36

Yes, because although the thing is uncountable, any instance of it has a quantity.

"Out of a kettle-full, a bath-full and an ocean, the ocean has the most water."

Correct usage has 'the' in front of 'most'.

  • 2
    "The ocean has most water" is ungrammatical. It's not a matter of choice.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 11:57
  • 1
    Please explain why, in your opinion, in that context, it is incorrect. I believe you are completely mistaken.
    – PRL75
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 12:32
  • 2
    @PRL75 Only "the most" means "more than all the others". Consider that "she played most games" indicates that she played a majority of games (but perhaps not more than other people), while "she played the most games" indicates she played more games than anyone else (but perhaps not more than half). Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:34
  • 1
    Before superlative adjectives we use "the". "Most" without "the" is not a superlative adjective, but a quantifier, but only a superlative fits the context of your example sentence with a kettle-full and a bath-full.
    – gotube
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:40
  • I have seen 'most' used without 'the' in that context quite frequently, but I'll accept that it's not correct. Post edited.
    – PRL75
    Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 13:57

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