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Quick answer
"El" is a definite article which is often translated as "the", and "lo más" is a phrase which is often translated as "the most". Learn more about the difference between "el" and "lo más" below.
A definite article is a word that identifies a noun as as specific or known to the speaker (e.g. the girl).
1. (general)
a. the
El gato está en el tejado.The cat is on the roof.
El teléfono estaba encima de la mesa.The telephone was on top of the table.
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lo más(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (the best)
a. the most
Lo más que puedo hacer es ampliarte una semana el plazo de entrega.The most I can do is to extend the deadline one week.
2. (to the greatest degree)
a. the most
Lo más difícil es decidirse a hacerlo. Después, todo viene rodado.The most difficult is to make up your mind to do it. Afterward, things will follow one after the other.
b. as much as
Tendríamos que resumir la nota lo más posible, porque no va a caber en el espacio.We should summarize the note as much as possible, because otherwise it won't fit in the space.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Compré mejillones porque era lo más barato que tenían.I bought mussels because they were the cheapest thing they had.
Ata el nudo lo más fuerte que puedas.Tie the knot as tight as you can.
3. (the most unpleasant thing)
a. the worst
Lo más que puede pasar es que lleguemos tarde, pero no es el fin del mundo, ¿verdad?The worst that can happen is that we're late, but it's not the end of the world, is it?
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(considered to be the best)
a. thought to be the best
Ahora mismo, este modelo es lo más en autos deportivos.At the moment, this model of sports car is thought to be the best.
A word or phrase that is commonly used in conversational speech (e.g. skinny, grandma).
(the most fashionable thing)
a. the trendiest thing
Este invierno los abrigos largos son lo más.Long coats are the trendiest thing this winter.
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