most of all / best of all

Akasaka

Senior Member
Japanese
Hello everyone,
Which is correct?

I like cats best of all / most of all.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Deloris

    Banned
    English USA
    I like cats best of all/most of all.
    Hi. Both of the alternatives you've offered are accurate, common usages of adverbials (a group of words accepted as a unit and functioning as an adverb), and both in this context mean "especially."
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    How about "I like cats best of all the animals/most of all the animals.
    This sounds quite awkward to my ear, Akasaka. I would turn it around and say:

    "Of all the animals, I like cats most/best".

    Your phrase would be like:

    "I like pies best of all desserts"

    It's much better as:

    "Of all desserts, I like pies best"
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    No change is necessary, Akasaka. Both of your examples are already structured perfectly.
    They may be structured perfectly but they sound awkward. To begin with, as Ecossaise subtly pointed out, "of all" is unnecessary. What is the difference between liking something the most and liking something the most "of all"? "The best" and "the most" mean "of all". If I say that I like horses "the best", do I have to go on to explain that I mean of all the animals? And if, for some reason, I have to explain what I mean, then saying:

    "I like horses the best of all the animals"

    may still be structured properly but it still sounds odd.

    To me, if we accepted this structure, we would all be saying:

    "I like Fords the best of all the cars"
    "I like red the best of all the colours"
    "I like chocolate the best of all the foods"

    "Of all the XYZ" is redundant and we rarely hear this phraseology except among children.
     

    Bil

    Banned
    English USA
    Akasaka said:
    I like cats best of all / most of all.
    Dimcl said:
    They may be structured perfectly but they sound awkward.
    To the English speaking population at large, Akasaka’s examples do not sound awkward at all. The expressions “I like/enjoy/delight in/take pleasure in/love/am pleased with/am fond of—Direct Object—most/best of all” are among the most commonly used turns of speech in the English language.

    Dimcl said:
    To begin with, as Ecossaise subtly pointed out, "of all" is unnecessary.
    Many words and phrases might be considered “unnecessary.” Still, we use them to add color, nuance and emotion to our communication, to breathe life into our sentences.

    Dimcl said:
    What is the difference between liking something the most and liking something the most "of all"?
    I’ll explain it. Not in every case is the expression “most/best of all” equivalent in meaning to the absolute adverb functioning as a noun, “THE most/THE best.” Put simply, the phrase is not limited to functioning as a comparative or superlative. As Deloris points out, in many instances where comparison is absent, the adverbial “most/best of all” is synonymous with “especially,” “in particular,” “chiefly,” “mainly,” "above all," “primarily,” “principally,” “mostly,” "most remarkably," “for the most part,” "most importantly," etc.

    Dimcl said:
    "The best" and "the most" mean "of all". If I say that I like horses "the best", do I have to go on to explain that I mean of all the animals? And if, for some reason, I have to explain what I mean, then saying:

    "I like horses the best of all the animals"

    may still be structured properly but it still sounds odd.
    Yes, the example does sound clumsy. It could be stated with more finesse:

    “Of the animals I’ve known, I like horses best of all.”

    But more to the point, the example does not address the question. Akasaka doesn’t offer a grammatically structured comparison and uses neither the definite article "the" nor the absolute adverb form of “best,” a noun.

    Dimcl said:
    To me, if we accepted this structure, we would all be saying:

    "I like Fords the best of all the cars"
    "I like red the best of all the colours"
    "I like chocolate the best of all the foods"

    "Of all the XYZ" is redundant and we rarely hear this phraseology except among children.
    Until now, no one has suggested such constructions. And Akasaka, evidently having come across a clearer, more straightforward style of phrasing like thoughts in his reading, would express the idea differently:

    “I like red best of all.”

    Simply put, Akasaka has been on the right track from the start.

    Examples in Literature

    “These considerations weigh with me, heavily . . . . And most of all [especially] I have, sometimes, that possibility of failing health or fading popularity before me, . . .” (Charles Dickens. London, Lausanne and Paris).

    “[T]hese rattling, bony skeletons of clocks are very disconcerting in their operation, and I wonder very much how any set of men, but most of all [principally] how Dutchmen, can have had a liking to invent them” (Charles Dickens. The Cricket on the Hearth).

    “So with every lithe action of the girl, with every turn of her wrist, perhaps most of all [mostly] with her look of dread or horror, . . .” (Charles Dickens. Our Mutual Friend).

    Ah! The Doll's house! . . . . There were three distinct rooms in it: a sitting-room and bedroom, elegantly furnished, and best of all [most remarkably], a kitchen, with uncommonly soft fire-irons (Charles Dickens. A Christmas Tree).

    "Immersed in Asian culture, Pearl delighted most of all [especially] in the folktales her old nurse told her" (Peter Conn. Pearl S. Buck).

    “I enjoy, best of all [especially], old friends and new places” (T. H. White. Papers of T.H. White).

    “I love to read, I love to write, but what I love best of all [especially] is proving to myself that dreams do come true” (Marjorie M Liu. Bio).

    Oh :), and . . .

    Most of all [Above all] I DO believe in spooks, I DO believe in spooks, I DO believe in spooks” (Stephen King. Shamelessly Pilfered Quotations).

    b.
     
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