Most every country

Here's something else that cropped up in the online training course on data privacy that I took recently (click on the image to see a larger version):


"Most every country"? As well as appearing twice in print (as shown), it was also used once in the audio track that accompanied the visuals.

On this usage of 'most', the OED Online says:

Chiefly N. Amer. Modifying certain universal and non-assertive determiners and pronouns, as all, any, every, anyone, everything, etc., and corresponding adverbs of time and place, as always, anywhere, everywhere.

This adverbial usage of 'most' seems rather colloquial to me, and not appropriate for a company training course - but then I'm a British English speaker.

Any American English speakers out there want to comment?

9 comments:

garic said...

I'm not a speaker of American English, but I've found this to be very common. My impression is that many Americans aren't aware that anyone considers it colloquial at all, and probably assume that it's like the difference between, say, "everyone" and everybody". The phonetic difference between "almost every country" and "most every country" in typically rapid speech is very small, after all.

That, at least, is my guess. But some real speakers of American English may correct me!

crypticpuzzler said...

I'm a speaker of American English, and this strikes me as odd. Why would someone try to sound folksy in instructional material?

I do bristle a bit at "many Americans aren't aware... and probably assume..."

I think the proportion of people who don't reflect on how they use language is probably the same wherever you go.

The Ridger, FCD said...

I think most Americans would find that to be pretty informal. I do (and I'm one). They'd say it, but wouldn't write it in this sort of material.

garic said...

"I do bristle a bit at 'many Americans aren't aware... and probably assume...'

I think the proportion of people who don't reflect on how they use language is probably the same wherever you go."


Absolutely! But I didn't intend to imply in the slightest that Americans are less likely to reflect on how they use language than Brits (or anyone else, for that matter). The only thing special about Americans in this case is that this is an American variant.

Nor, by "many", incidentally, did I mean "the majority".

TootsNYC said...

I've thought of it as folksy, colloquial.

I agree w/ crypticpuzzler: "I think the proportion of people who don't reflect on how they use language is probably the same wherever you go."

Though I will say, now that I'm crotchety (nearly 50!), I think that people are much more casual in their business and marketing writing than ever before.

Kids these days!

crypticpuzzler said...

Garic said: "But I didn't intend to imply in the slightest that Americans are less likely to reflect on how they use language than Brits (or anyone else, for that matter). ..."

Thanks, Garic, I appreciate that.

The Ridger, FCD said...

I think, however, that garic's right in believing that until a usage question is brought to our attention, we aren't "aware that anyone considers it" unusual. ("we" = "people")

After all, why would we?

Garwoofoo said...

TootsNYC - yes, people are much more casual in their marketing writing these days and often it's entirely deliberate. There's a company over here called Innocent that has been hugely successful and all their marketing is deliberately written to be very childlike. Initially it's endearing, eventually it becomes grating but by that point you've probably realised how delicious their smoothies are and can look past the inane writing a little!

Ms Baroque said...

As well as being folksy, colloquial, "most" used in this way also sounds a little archaic to my ear - deliberately old-fashioned in a "what's the hurry, sonny" kind of way - but is probably simply regional. It's a sort of anti-urban usage.

Inappropriate. As are "outside of [city]" and "different than".