‘Most everyone’ vs. ‘almost everyone’ in English

by Jakub Marian

Tip: See my list of the Most Common Mistakes in English. It will teach you how to avoid mis­takes with com­mas, pre­pos­i­tions, ir­reg­u­lar verbs, and much more (PDF Version).

“Most everyone”, meaning “almost everyone”, is a colloquial phrase that became somewhat widespread in spoken American English, but the expression is virtually non-existent in British English and would be considered unnatural by most Britons.

American authors and editors generally advise against using “most everyone” in writing because, strictly speaking, the phrase does not make sense (it should theoretically mean “the majority of everyone”, just like “most people” means “the majority of people”).

In fact, “most” in this context is a contraction of “almost”, just like ’em is a contraction of “them” often used in colloquial speech. However, it is not common to spell the contracted form of “almost” as ’most (with an apostrophe), due to which people often forget that it is colloquial.

To summarize, here are a few examples:

Almost everyone knows that. (correct)
Most everyone knows that. (colloquial)
’Most everyone knows that. (colloquial and uncommon)
Tell them that almost everyone is already there. (correct)
Tell ’em that most everyone’s already there. (colloquial)

The same advice applies to “most anyone”, “most everybody” and similar phrases containing “most” in place of “almost”:

Almost anyone can do that. (correct)
Most anyone can do that. (colloquial)
I like almost everybody in our group.
I like most everybody in our group. (colloquial)

By the way, if you haven’t read my guide on how to avoid the most common mistakes in English, make sure to check it out; it deals with similar topics.

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