Jesse: Most Iowans are Hawk fans.
Julie: That's not true!
Jesse: Yes it is.
Julie: Jesse, you can't say MOST Iowans are Hawkeye fans. I agree that MORE Iowans are Hawkeye fans because I'd say the state is split about 60% Hawks, and 40% Cyclones.
Jesse: Well that is still most because most means at least 51% or more.
Julie: MORE is more than 51% not MOST.
And thus began our debate . . .
So as we continued our debate later with these two men, we decided to look up the word MORE and MOST in the dictionary. I was not happy with our discovery.
more: Pronunciation[mawr, mohr]
–adjective, compar. of much or many with most as superl.
1.in greater quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number: I need more money.
2.additional or further: Do you need more time? More discussion seems pointless.
–adjective, superl. of much or many with more as compar.
1.in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number: to win the most votes.
2.in the majority of instances: Most operations are successful.
3.greatest, as in size or extent: the most talent.
So according to the dictionary, Jesse is right about the meaning of the word most. However, in this Hawk/Cyclone context, would MOST people use the word MOST to describe the number of people who like the Hawks? What I'm wondering is what do YOU think of when you hear the word MOST? Before you make a decision, read the following excerpts."
Jesse definition: "At least 51% of women go through pregnancy and childbirth without any complications."
Julie definition: "At least 75% of women go through pregnancy and childbirth without any complications."
So about half of all women could possibly have complications? Wow-that is scary statistic.
2. "Most people need help before arrival and during their first six months in a new country." http://www.justlanded.com/english/common/footer/advertising
Jesse definition: "At least 51% of people need help before arrival and during their first six months in a new country."
Julie definition: "At least 75% of of people need help before arrival and during their first six months in a new country."
I would be pretty amazed if about 50% of expats DON'T need any help.
So in conclusion, when you see the word MOST written down or spoken in a context similar to the ones above, what do you assume? Do you assume that the person is saying about 75% or more of a group of people (or things) are _________? OR, do you assume the person is saying at least 51% of a group of people are _________?
Please place your votes to the side because perhaps if we get MOST people to agree that the dictionary definition is incorrect, we can take it to Webster's himself (well the current CEO) and request a change. The dictionary isn't set in stone you know. Haven't you read the book "Frindle?"-ok, you probably haven't because it's a great teacher book and students in elementary school often have to read it for class.
To quote my brilliant sister-in-law (who is an editor to boot), "50-75 % = more, but 75-99% = most." I rest my case. Jesse said I should go to Drake University and get my law degree and then take him to court. Silly guy-everyone knows that MOST women would never take things that far . . .