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Reading through the Heinz's ketchup bottle, I noticed that their tagline, Grown Not Made could mean something totally different and opposite to it's intended meaning i.e. Grown Not, Made and Grown, Not Made.

Questions:

  • Is grown not made correct English (although it's not necessary)?
  • Can that statement, as mentioned above, have two different and totally opposite meanings?
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2  
this is why you shouldn't smoke ketchup... –  Wim Ombelets Jan 8 at 18:06
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It reminds me a bit of ancient Greek oracles who supposedly prophesied along the lines of "you shall win not lose the battle". –  oerkelens Jan 9 at 9:50

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The statement “Grown Not, Made” I believe is not grammatically correct. The opposite of “Grown, Not Made” would be “Not Grown, Made”. I.e., “not” is placed before the word to be negated, which is why the original statement without the comma works.

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6  
"grown not" would be...well, acceptable for Yoda, but bizarre for anyone else. "Made not is the ketchup; grown it is, yes!" –  BrianDHall Jan 8 at 18:02
    
well, even if it isn't incorrect, it is an unfamiliar and possibly clumsy structure. Therefore the first reading would be preferred. –  Oldcat Jan 8 at 18:03
    
It didn't occur to me until now, but the Yoda-like grammar was actually popular prior to the 17-18th centuries. Modern examples being "waste not, want not"...but yes, they are not expected modern readings. –  BrianDHall Jan 8 at 18:14
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@Brian, those are both imperatives. If imperatives (or any other finite forms in a main clause) are used with the simple negator ‘not’, rather than ‘don't’, it must follow the verb rather than precede it. The passive participle, as here, is not really a verb, though, at least not in this respect: it functions more like an adjective, which is why the negator must precede it. Similarly incorrect would be “He not was” (preceding finite verb) and “This is crazy not” (following adjective). –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Jan 8 at 19:05

The phrase Grown Not Made is a tagline, a form of trademark, owned by Heinz.

In some of its incarnations, it is written Grown, Not Made. This makes clear that a contrast is being drawn between Heintz' purported natural (grown) products and highly processed or chemically enhanced (made) products, sold by others.

Taglines are often fragments and do not necessarily conform to the highest grammatical standards. However, as a sentence fragment, it seems to be fairly clear that the meaning is

[Heinz products are] grown, not made.

In that context, the phrase is internally grammatical and logical. Without the comma, the meaning and grammar are arguably a bit more ambiguous. However, as pointed out by 10b0, the phrase grown not is not standard. As such, there is little likelihood that it would be read to mean the opposite of what is intended.

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