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In the sentence I love you the most, does the most function as an adverb?
If it does, what is the article 'the' doing there? Is there an ellipsed noun there?

Thanks
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lagatawIn the sentence I love you the most, does the most function as an adverb?If it does, what is the article 'the' doing there? Is there an ellipsed noun there?
Yes, most is an adverb of degree there. I have no idea how that the got there. It's just part of the adverbial expression. I don't know what noun would go there. None that I can think of. Do you have any suggestions?

CJ
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Thanks CJ

Right now I'm thinking of these possibilities
1. that the + superlative adverb (e.g. the least, the best etc) is just a special form of adverbial. No noun needs to be ellipsed
2. that it could be a shorter version of the idiom "at the most"
3. that it is an erroneous version of I love you most ...that people got used to affixing the definite article 'the' before a superlative adjective and adverb. That's why we started saying "She sings the most sweetly", instead of "She sings most sweetly". But 'He runs the fastest' does sound better than 'He runs fastest', which leads me to my fourth assumption.
4. that the definiite article 'the' may be used to precede not only noun functions but also superlative adverbs.
Indeed! superlative adverbs are formed with the definite article "the".
Mary drives the most carefully.
Steve works the hardest.