Talk:most of all

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Non-idiomatic SoP. Compare least of all, biggest of all, brightest of all... Equinox 02:17, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

I think I agree, but "of all" seems curious and idiomatic, I think. I don't think a normal person would look it up, but it seems of interest. Nor do I know what such an entry would say. Perhaps a redirect to the right section of all? DCDuring TALK 02:28, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
I suppose it's exceptional because any contemporary speaker (?) would tend to refer to the group as "all of them", not just "all". But, as you say, nobody would look up of all on its own. Equinox 02:32, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
It’s idiomatic. I can’t think of another language that can say it just this way. It’s a set term that any good dictionary should have. —Stephen 15:10, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
But it doesn't seem idiomatic in the sense of WT:CFI. Interestingly, the OneLook dictionaries must not be good because they do not have entries for this (including the Cambridge, AHD, and MCGraw-Hill idiom dictionaries). Some seem to have inbound links (redirects), but they offer no content. It would not surprise me that language learners might be mystified by this. That would suggest that a redirect or "only-in" page would be desirable to explain the generality of this rather than leave users solely with lexical information, forcing them to learn solely by induction. One would think that users looking things up here deserve more. DCDuring TALK 16:23, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Deserve more than what? I have no idea what you’re trying to say. —Stephen 17:19, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
...than the bare entry that we have given them. What I am trying to say is that the entry is a waste of their time and ours. They may as well spend their time searching some corpus to find how the term is used for all the help our entry offers. DCDuring TALK 18:48, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
So add in examples of usage. An unfinished or incomplete entry is better than a deleted entry. When I use a dictionary, I look up complete terms, not elements of terms. If I don’t find the term I am interested in, I do not resort to trying to puzzle out the parts, but look to another source. A dictionary either has it or it hasn’t, and fiddling with parts of terms is inefficient, error-prone, and a waste of time. —Stephen 14:04, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Delete. If [[of all]] is created, then redirect this thither.​—msh210 21:19, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Either this meets CFI or it doesn't; either it should be in Wiktionary or it shouldn't. If it should be in Wiktionary and doesn't meet CFI (or shouldn't be in Wiktionary and does meet CFI), then CFI should be changed. Otherwise these things will remain like the proverbial bad penny. DCDuring TALK 21:20, 19 July 2009 (UTC)
Keep and start and article for least of all. We're not talking about superlative forms like biggest + of + all, we're talking about a specific meaning. Mglovesfun (talk) 18:34, 21 July 2009 (UTC)

The core here certainly seems to be of all, which is preceded by a superlative adjective. It seems reasonably productive in its ability to join with superlatives. The following (not an exhaustive list) all appear as sentence adjuncts (e.g., Most of all, you need to be entirely honest.)

  • first of all
  • best of all
  • worst of all
  • second of all
  • least of all
  • greatest of all
  • last of all
  • biggest of all
  • most importantly of all
  • most disturbing of all
  • most difficult of all
  • saddest of all
  • And the most important question of all
  • most striking of all
  • in spite of all

Exceptions seem to be:

  • first and last, but these are at least notionally superlative
  • most importantly, an adverb, but still superlative
  • And the most important question of all, a noun phrase modified by a superlative adjective
  • in spite of all, a prepositional phrase that is rare, and sounds odd to my ear, but appears even in academic writing

Only a few, including most of all and best of all and their opposites can also function as modifiers in clause structure (e.g., I loved him most of all.), but then, only most and best individually can do so.

Another notable feature of these is the lack of a definite article (cf., the worst of all).

I don't see any mention of any of this in the CGEL, but then, I may not be looking in the right place.

Most of all and least of all as adjuncts do seem to be uniquely idiomatic here in that they typically mean most important of all, whereas everything else is explicit in its quality.--Brett 12:59, 22 July 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, the others seem very sum of parts, but not the two I cited. Mglovesfun (talk) 20:50, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Can of all be an intensifier and a polished speaker's way of saying "er"? Anything else? DCDuring TALK 21:02, 23 July 2009 (UTC)
Yes, semantically speaking, it intensifies things. Syntactically speaking, it's a prepositional phrase which typically functions as a modifier in AdjPs.--Brett 21:55, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Kept, at worst, no consensus. Mglovesfun (talk) 07:16, 27 September 2009 (UTC)