all the difference in the world

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all the difference in the world

The greatest degree of difference that is possible or conceivable. Without the verbs "mean" or "make," it is used to compare two disparate things. There's all the difference in the world between knowing how to play and actually performing on the field. I was sympathetic at first, but finding out you didn't even study for the test makes all the difference in the world. You're grounded!
See also: all, difference, world