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I would like to use phrase "all but one" in the sentence like "Except for the one green apple, all the other green apples are bad."

Which expression is not ambiguous? "All but one green apples are bad." or "All green apples but one are bad."

Does "All but one green apples are bad." means "All apples but one green apple are bad." or "All green apples but one green apple are bad"?

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    Upon second thought, I think both is and are work, but you still can't say one green apples. You could say all but one of the green apples. Nov 28 '21 at 16:17
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    @Peter Shor So if there are red apples and green apples. And all of the red apples and only one green apple are good. Are the statements "All green apples but one are bad." and "All but one of the green apples are bad" the same meaning and both true? I'm not sure for the second statement, the subject of 'all' are apples or green apples...
    – Lauren
    Nov 28 '21 at 16:26
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    “All but one green apple are bad” => except for one green apple, every apple is bad, including apples that aren’t green. You could try pushing it to say that even non-apples are bad, but that’s a bit of a stretch. Here, “are” agrees with “all” and “one green apple” is the stated exception.
    – Lawrence
    Nov 28 '21 at 16:57
  • +1 for the fun with numerical agreement. Welcome to EL&U.
    – Lawrence
    Nov 28 '21 at 17:01
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    'All the green apples but one are bad'. You are referring to a particular set of apples, not all the green apples in the world. Nov 28 '21 at 18:40
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Question

Which expression is not ambiguous? "All but one green apples are bad." or "All green apples but one are bad."

To begin, I would rephrase the first sentence as "All but one of the green apples are bad." Now, to answer your question, neither sentence is ambiguous: they both mean all the green apples are bad except one. That is, the sentences aren't qualifying over all the apples regardless of color; they're qualifying over just the green apples.

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