I am writing a term paper in English and am not sure which of the two sentences below is correct:

  1. some apples and pears
  2. some apples and some pears

What I mean to say is that there are some apples and that there also some pears. 1. seems (to me, a non-native speaker) more correct than 2. and 2. gives me the feeling that the second "some" is redundant. Do you have any suggestions?

  • 2
    2. Is less ambiguous, but whether that ambiguity is of concern or not is dependent on context and consequences. 1. would likely be interpreted the way you intended in most reasonable contexts.
    – Jim
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 21:50
  • Either is fine.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 0:56

1 Answer 1


The first is what I have used and seen in this situation. I would agree that the second "some" in the second case is superfluous to the meaning.

  • 1
    That's true. However, if that was the case I think it would be proper to say "Some apples and a pear" or "An apple and some pears." Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 22:01
  • 2
    @Jason: That's nuts. The plural apples never refers to a single apple, and the same goes for pears. Some is redundant when repeated for sure, and perhaps even in a single instance. Saying "apples and pears" gets the idea across, and only if you need a limiter would you say "some apples and pears."
    – Robusto
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 22:01
  • 1
    @Jason: I think you're confused about the usage of some here. When the dictionary says it can mean one, that is in the context of a singular noun, e.g., "Some idiot rang my doorbell at 3:00 a.m." In the context of a plural noun it means "more than one": "Some idiots rang my doorbell at 3:00 a.m." It simply cannot mean one in the latter sentence.
    – Robusto
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 22:42
  • 1
    @Robusto I believe that what Jason is saying is that the subject here is not "apples" and "pears" but "apples and pears." An example I have heard used to illustrate this distinction, which often comes up in discussions around the Oxford comma, is "ham and eggs." This phrase can be used to mean, separately, "ham" and "eggs," but also to mean the dish, "ham and eggs." Interestingly, when "some" is used in the first case, it's referring to an amount of ham and a number of eggs. In the second case, it only refers to an amount of "ham and eggs." I'm not sure he's right, I'm just trying to explain. Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 23:08
  • 1
    @Jason: Now you're indulging in sophistry. Chicken in your chicken and waffles usage is a mass noun, not a count noun. You might just as easily have said some water. Also, I used some idiot deliberately to show your confusion about number. Some pears is the same grammatical construct as some idiot.
    – Robusto
    Commented Feb 25, 2019 at 23:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.