I'm currently having a discussion with a colleague about the validity of the description fresh and craved for food products.

For me, the description makes little sense, as it two adjectives: one in past tense (craved), and one in present tense (fresh).

A hypothesis I have is that the author may have meant "fresh and carved", or even freshly carved. However, the foods being described here are schnitzels, which aren't exactly predisposed to carving (more towards breading, but the concept of carving schnitzels is interesting nonetheless).

I'm also thinking the description was fresh and craved would make more sense, but it's hardly something you'd want to call food products one would be distributing with the intention of generating profit. I'm also confused as implying that your foodstuffs were craved previously, but surely this is also poor business practice as the implication there is that your foods are craved no longer.

The final thought I have on the topic is that the description is implying that the food has been craved by people in the past (maybe market research has been conducted, or users have filled out feedback forms testifying that they have craved the product at some point during the day or week). This, to me, still doesn't explain the use of fresh in the description. Having verifiable evidence that your food is indeed craved constantly by some subset of the population is a much stronger claim than the arbitrary, bog-standard, slapped-on fresh descriptor one sees on foodstuffs everywhere.

In summary, my question(s) are:

  1. Does the description fresh and craved make grammatical sense?
  2. If yes, is it at the very least only technically correct but is a stylistic abomination?
  3. Are there any counter-examples to the general statement that you cannot mix different tense adjectives in a description of a noun in the present tense?
  4. Would you eat at a place where schnitzels were carved?

Thank you in advance for settling this long, drawn-out and stressful friendly discussion I have been having with my colleague. The last question is just for my own curiosity. Question 4 is non-compulsory.

Many thanks.

closed as unclear what you're asking by David, Dan Bron, Edwin Ashworth, tchrist Feb 14 '18 at 2:14

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  • You don't say where you read this phrase. It makes no sense to me. – Kate Bunting Feb 12 '18 at 9:42
  • Hi Frederick! Welcome to EL&U :) As Kate said, context is important. Where did you see this description being used? The word "craved" could very well be in passive voice. – as4s4hetic Feb 12 '18 at 11:53
  • Thanking you for your responses. It is a slogan for an eatery my coworkers and I frequent. It is prevalent all over the shop's advertising material and features in its name as well. Almost like "<name>, mmm, fresh and craved". – frederick p. smythe Feb 12 '18 at 22:31
  • Since when is fresh a verb, whether present tense or otherwise? – tchrist Feb 14 '18 at 2:15

It strikes me as very awkward, but I’m not sure why.  I’m struggling to identify any reason why it might be wrong, except possibly for lack of parallelism.

I disagree with your statement that “craved” (and “carved”, for that matter) is past tense.  I believe that they are past participles.  These can be used as adjectives in the sense of “(something) has been ______ed”.  If you heard “fried chicken” or “peeled banana”, would you think past tense?  Yes, the chicken was fried and the banana was peeled.  But past participles can also be used to mean “(something) is being ______ed” — for example, a “coveted position”, a “much-watched television show” or a “frequently traveled road”.

  • Thanks for the clarification, @Scott. I'm still not sure why it sounds so awkward. Can you mix past principle adjectives and standard 'adjectives'? Excuse my terminology. I am new to grammar-based conversations. – frederick p. smythe Feb 15 '18 at 2:07
  • That’s what I was referring to when I said that “lack of parallelism” might be the problem.  I don’t know of any applicable rule, but “juicy and fried chicken”, “ripe and peeled banana” and “paved and frequently traveled road” also strike me as awkward.  In those cases, I would eliminate the “and”, perhaps replacing it with a comma; e.g., “juicy fried chicken” and “ripe, peeled banana” — but “fresh craved food” still sounds awkward.  Might just be because ‘‘crave’’ is not a very common word; I’m not sure. – Scott Feb 15 '18 at 2:22

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