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"All the apples in the basket are good"

vs

"All the apple is good" [meaning the whole apple is good?].

Are both usages correct?

If yes please explain why. From here it seems both the usages are right, but I was of the understanding that when all is used with a countable noun, the plural noun is used along with its plural verb like in the first statement.

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  • 1
    Is anybody else irresistibly reminded of Beyond the Fringe? – StoneyB Oct 13 at 20:06
  • All can mean either every one (of a number of things) or the whole (of a single thing). – Kate Bunting Oct 13 at 20:34
  • "All the apple" means the entirety of the apple (single apple). "All the apples" means the entirety of the apples (more than one apple). – BillJ Oct 14 at 6:58
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Yes, both usages are correct, but mean different things.

"All" means the whole of something. In the first case it is the whole of (the group of) apples in the basket.

In the second it means the whole of the single apple, or of an uncountable mass of substance labelled 'apple' - which might be a lot of mushed up apple or a lot of apple- flavoured something. In either a single apple or an uncountable mass you do not use the plural.

The rule you cite about using the plural noun and verb applies when you are referring to a group (the first case) - i.e. when you are talking about many apples. In the second you are talking about (parts of) a single apple, so it would be inappropriate to use plural noun and verb. (Also it would make the second case was indistinguishable from the first, and so you couldn't tell which was meant.)

  • It is conceivable that "all the apple" refers to more than just a single apple e.g. I have a ton of apple in my warehouse, and declare that "all the apple is good". – WS2 Oct 13 at 22:02
  • @WS2 - In fact it might be all the apple flavored product that's good while all the grape is bad. – Jim Oct 13 at 22:51
  • Good points, but doesn't change the conclusion. – DJClayworth Oct 14 at 1:51

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