Is it right to ask this question:

Where is the world's most fresh water?

Can I ask this question without using the word "found"

Where is the world's most fresh water found?

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    Voting to close as "general reference". The question of whether it's asking about freshest or largest quantity is irrelevant to whether the word "found" is necessary. Googling Where is the world's most xxxx immediately shows that "found" isn't normally used here. Jan 18, 2012 at 16:36
  • 4
    @FumbleFingers: the ability to Google something has absolutely no bearing on whether it is general reference. People keep making this mistake, and it's making this site way less useful than it ought to be. To be general reference, the answer needs to be found in a generally-available reference source designed to authoritatively answer that type of question. So, a definition request is general reference because that's what dictionaries are for, a synonym request is gen ref because that's what thesaurii are for, etc.
    – Marthaª
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:45
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    In this case, there's actually a pretty interesting grammar question behind things, one that you're not gonna find the answer to in a dictionary or thesaurus, nor even in an encyclopedia, unless you already know the answer and thus know where to look. That hardly qualifies as "general reference".
    – Marthaª
    Jan 18, 2012 at 18:47
  • @Martha: That's just your opinion. IMHO if the answer is clear just by typing in something obvious to Google's search box and glancing at the summaries without even leaving the Google homepage, this is a strong indicator that what's being asked is sufficiently common knowledge that it doesn't warrant taking up space on a website intended for linguists, etymologists, and (serious) English language enthusiasts here on ELU. Jan 18, 2012 at 19:15
  • ...as to the "interesting grammar" behind it, I think you could say that about almost any utterance. OP certainly wasn't asking the question in a way that suggests he's interested in all that - he just wants to know if he should include the word "found" or not. To which the straight answer is "No" (or at least, "Probably not", but I doubt there's much point in going any deeper for this particular question). Jan 18, 2012 at 19:19

1 Answer 1


It's almost fine grammatically, except that instead of "most fresh" you would use "freshest".

"Where is the world's freshest water?"

You do not need "found". It is sometimes used, often for no real purpose. To be pedantic, in order for something to be "found", someone actually needs to go there, and find it.

Semantically, it's tricky. What do you mean by "fresh"? Isn't the freshest water rainwater, which falls in most places?

You might have meant:

"Where is the world's largest body of fresh water?"

... which is a different question altogether, in which "fresh water" means "water that is not salty like sea water".

  • 1
    Hmm, I interpreted the question as "Where is most of the world's fresh water?" Your first interpretation struck me as surprising, though once I read it, I thought, okay, that might be what someone would mean by such a question. Which I guess is a case for careful wording of a question. In this case, do you mean "water that is most fresh" or "most water that is fresh"?
    – Jay
    Jan 18, 2012 at 16:30
  • @Jay: I agree. If a sentence has one meaning that requires assuming an error and one meaning that does not, you should prefer the latter. But the fact that they can be confused showed that this sentence is ambiguous. Jan 18, 2012 at 23:53
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    To me the construct "the world's most fresh water" isn't ambiguous, it's confusing. I consider as poorly constructed writing that requires your reader to consider alternate readings. Is he asking "where's the world's largest body of fresh water?" or "what lake contains the largest volume of fresh water?" or "on what continent is found the largest volume of fresh water?" or "where's the world's freshest water?" And what would 'largest body' mean if he used that -- by surface area? Without knowing what the author means, questions about the usage of 'found' seems secondary.
    – AndrewS
    Jan 27, 2012 at 20:02

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