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Where would you most want to visit?

Where would you want to visit the most?

Can I also say "Where do you most want to visit?"

1 Answer 1

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Idiomatically, we normally put adverbial most after the relevant verb in such questions, so we're more likely to ask Who do you like most? rather than Who do you most like?

But when the verb is part of a more extended "verb phrase", as in OP's want to visit, this puts greater distance between most and the specific verb it applies to (want), so there's a tendency to move it to before the verb to maintain the semantic connection.

As to including the article the - I personally wouldn't1, but it's effectively a stylistic choice that has been gaining traction in recent decades...

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Note that including the article only really works after the verb. Not many native speakers would endorse Where would you the most want to visit? (it's at the very least "clunky").


1 Thanks to @TRomano below for prompting me to point out that my reluctance to include the article reflects the fact that if you restrict the above chart to the British corpus, that usage doesn't even occur enough to display on the chart. Which doesn't make it wrong, but it's not my first [stylistic] choice.

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  • "Like the most" has had plenty of traction in the US for decades, but you won't necessarily see it in Ngram since it's the sort of thing that gets edited out of written texts. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 21:13
  • @TRomano: Well, the chart makes it obvious including the article is very much a minority usage even today (I assume you're not suggesting it's actually the most common form, even if we restrict ourselves to casual speech). But if you switch to BrE corpus on my graph, it also becomes pretty obvious why I said I personally wouldn't [include it] - in BrE, it doesn't even occur often enough to plot on the graph. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 21:23
  • They look relatively close to me. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 3:10
  • We've obviously hit on a glitch in NGrams. When I switch your link to all English, the graph shows the "articled" version as mostly being on top until the 1960s. But I just tried to "drill down" to each date range below the graph (1800-1817, 1818, 1819, 1820-1957), and they all come back with "No results". Sometimes NGrams is just rubbish. Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 13:16
  • The drill-downs are especially unreliable; I suspect they're not drilling down into the data culled by the initial query, but into the Google-verse. That aside, our initial queries differ significantly. I chose one I like the most, one I like most whereas you chose what I like most,what I like the most. My sense is that one versus what makes a significant difference, though Google Ngram is probably not the tool to show it clearly. We need a database comprised of transcriptions of actual conversational English for a question like this.
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 2, 2016 at 14:47

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