A Simple Grammar Question

32. The apple is green, not red, which is how Johnny prefers apples.

 

Question: Does Johnny prefer green or red apples?

 

12 comments to A Simple Grammar Question

  • The commas create a parenthetical expression, which means that the sentence should be able to read without the added information. Read thus: The apple is green, which is how Johnny prefers apples.

    That is, of course, assuming that the person who wrote the sentence had this knowledge of grammar and used it to express his or her ideas.

    Just wondering… why did this come up?

  • I wasn’t an English major, so I don’t know.

    But I say red, because I don’t think commas exclude the content from the sentence. Parentheses do that.

    But what do I know? Maybe it’s just a poorly constructed sentence.

  • He prefers green apples. You can figure it out by moving the clauses around. “The apple is green, which is how Johnny prefers apples, instead of red.”

  • Liz

    Green, based on the location of the commas.

  • Can someone rearrange this sentence, to indicate that Johnny prefers red apples?

  • The apple is red, not green, which is how Johnny prefers apples.

    The apple is red, which is how Johnny prefers apples, not green.

  • @Faith, but the apple is green!

  • I don’t see how moving around the phrase, “not red,” suddenly proves that the apple is green. You can’t just pull out a section of a sentence as if it’s a coincidental fragment and move it somewhere else. It was put where it is intentionally and should remain there. The question is simply one of what the end of the sentence is referring to. Maybe it’s possible that it could be referring to either one. I don’t know why that would be a problem. In that case, the sentence just isn’t clear and the person saying it is the idiot, not the person trying to decipher it.

    Does any of that make a lick of sense?

  • OK, let me try this again. You’re right–the apple is green. I’m not sure there’s a way to rearrange the sentence as it is, to make him prefer red apples.

    The apple is green, not red, which is how Johnny prefers apples.

    Can I change the punctuation? If so, how about:

    The apple is green–not red, which is how Johnny prefers apples.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>