Am I the only one whose athletic career bared fruit?

While this sentence doesn’t make logical sense, seeing as it should be "bore fruit", is it still grammatically correct? Can a sentence that makes no logical sense at all still be considered ‘correct’ or ‘grammatical’?

And if the answer to that is yes, then how does one distinguish between something that is grammatical and something that is not, if the meaning is not relevant?

Note: This question is different from the previous question (which it has been marked as a duplicate of) in that it asks specifically whether a sentence that makes no logical sense can still be considered grammatical, despite its not making sense.

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    Please stop reposting! english.stackexchange.com/questions/226259/…
    – Deepak
    Feb 8, 2015 at 4:22
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    Depending on the meaning you want, all of these verb forms are potentially grammatical: "bore fruit" (produced fruit), "bored fruit" (drilled holes in fruit or filled fruit with ennui), "bared fruit" (revealed fruit without any covering), "beared fruit" (gave fruit to bears). Since you didn't ask, I won't illustrate the senses in which "beered fruit," "biered fruit," and "bearded fruit" may also be used grammatically.
    – Sven Yargs
    Feb 8, 2015 at 9:27
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    @user2268251 The standard sentence used to show how completely grammatical sentences can be utter nonsense is colourless green ideas sleep furiously, invented by Noam Chomsky. His argument was that though the sentence itself makes no sense whatsoever, it is grammatical, unlike its transposition, *furiously sleep ideas green colourless, which is grammatical and semantic balderdash. Feb 8, 2015 at 19:52
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    I have clarified the question tweaked your edit (since what you had written was basically “this isn’t a duplicate because I didn’t get the answers I wanted on the first one”, which doesn’t work), since I believe the way this question is worded is on-topic here, and a fundamentally different question than the original one. I have also voted to reopen it. Feb 8, 2015 at 23:38
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    Olympic class grape peelers. Feb 9, 2015 at 0:29

2 Answers 2


Yes, it is grammatically correct - but don't ever use it unless it is very clear that it's meant to be a pun - otherwise everyone will just assume you don't know how to spell.

  • +1 for being the only answer thus far that actually answers the question. Feb 8, 2015 at 19:46

As for whether it's grammatically correct, I can't say it better than StoneyB did yesterday: "There's nothing wrong with it grammatically; it's very odd semantically, unless you competed in peeling bananas."

As for whether something can be grammatically correct even though it doesn't make logical sense, there is plenty of grammatically-correct nonsense out there. I'm thinking of Alice in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass, wherein are to be found poems that defy my understanding.

As for whether one can evaluate whether something is grammatical without caring about the meaning, I'd say yes, definitely--"Premasticate the frontonasal globe sight" (made using random English words from the wiktionary, yay!) is completely fine grammatically--but I think that might only be true with real English words. I think maybe if you make up your own words, or borrow from other languages, we can no longer say whether it's grammatically correct. We have to know whether a word is a verb or a noun, and from there whether it's conjugated correctly, or whether it's singular or plural--that sort of thing...

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    Would you say that whether this is grammatically correct or not depends on whether your definition of 'grammar' is the narrower linguistic one or the broader layman's definition? Feb 8, 2015 at 5:10
  • I think if one's career is as an ecdysiast then they bare something.
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 8, 2015 at 19:35
  • I rewrote my answer completely. @user2268251, by the narrower definition, do you mean what the following calls "Descriptive grammar"?
    – Mathieu K.
    Feb 9, 2015 at 6:56
  • "Descriptive grammar refers to the structure of a language as it is actually used by speakers and writers. Prescriptive grammar refers to the structure of a language as certain people think it should be used. Both kinds of grammar are concerned with rules--but in different ways. Specialists in descriptive grammar (called linguists) study the rules or patterns that underlie our use of words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. On the other hand, prescriptive grammarians (such as most editors and teachers) lay out rules about what they believe to be the 'correct' or 'incorrect' use of language."
    – Mathieu K.
    Feb 9, 2015 at 6:58
  • (taken from forum.thefreedictionary.com/… )
    – Mathieu K.
    Feb 9, 2015 at 6:59

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