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Which countries eat the most meat? Options
Reiko07
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 4:14:27 AM

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Joined: 10/30/2018
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1) Which countries eat the most meat?

2) Which countries eat most meat?

3) Which country eats the most meat?

4) Which country eats most meat?

Which is correct?

My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 11:53:08 AM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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Reiko07 wrote:
1) Which countries eat the most meat?

2) Which countries eat most meat?

3) Which country eats the most meat?

4) Which country eats most meat?

Which is correct?


1) and 3), although it must be understood that countries don't eat meat...Whistle It is the population in those countries that eat the meat.

We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Parpar1836
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:25:37 PM
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Location: Rochester, New York, United States
In which case, it could be rephrased as:

Which countries have the highest consumption of meat?
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 1:28:19 PM

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Location: Vinton, Iowa, United States
And are you asking about per capita consumption, or total amount consumed annually?
Reiko07
Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 11:19:51 PM

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Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 456
Neurons: 2,244
FounDit wrote:
Reiko07 wrote:
1) Which countries eat the most meat?

2) Which countries eat most meat?

3) Which country eats the most meat?

4) Which country eats most meat?

Which is correct?


1) and 3), although it must be understood that countries don't eat meat...Whistle It is the population in those countries that eat the meat.

Thanks, FounDit.

Are 1) and 3) unnatural? I've seen similar sentences to them a few times.

My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
Reiko07
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 9:35:34 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 456
Neurons: 2,244
Parpar1836 wrote:
In which case, it could be rephrased as:

Which countries have the highest consumption of meat?

Thanks, Parpar1836.

My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
Reiko07
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 9:39:31 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 456
Neurons: 2,244
Wilmar (USA) wrote:
And are you asking about per capita consumption, or total amount consumed annually?

The latter.

Thanks for the reply, Wilmar.

My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, February 13, 2019 10:15:58 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 32,956
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I think there is a difference here between the "logical and technically correct" sentences and "the common and natural phrases of English-speakers".

Technically, "most" is superlative, so:


There can only be one country. The questions asking for "countries" are illogical.
"Most meat" is therefore defined and unique, so the article 'the' would be used.

So the technically logical and correct one is #3 "Which country eats the most meat?" (ignoring FounDit's point that it's the people who eat the meat, not the country).

************
However, it is common to speak of several things with the superlative - the 'top ten' or 'first three', 'five biggest'.

In this case, one could consider that 'most' is definite with several unique values, using the definite article:
#1. "Which countries eat the most meat?" - or -
one could consider 'most' as indefinite, as there is not a unique value:
#2. "Which countries eat most meat?"

***************
ALSO - no-one would be bothered to go through all that logic, so they just say what they feel.
You might hear all four.
However, that is the order in which you are most likely to hear them, I think - #3, #1, #2.
You are not really likely to hear #4. It's the one which really sounds 'odd' to me. It's asking for ONE definite item, but not using the definite article.

**************
On Wilmar's point - with a question like this, I would naturally look at "meat consumption per year, per capita" - but you never know. Someone might, for some odd reason, calculate "total national meat consumption per decade".
It should be specified.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Reiko07
Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2019 9:42:31 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 456
Neurons: 2,244
Drag0nspeaker wrote:
I think there is a difference here between the "logical and technically correct" sentences and "the common and natural phrases of English-speakers".

Technically, "most" is superlative, so:


There can only be one country. The questions asking for "countries" are illogical.
"Most meat" is therefore defined and unique, so the article 'the' would be used.

So the technically logical and correct one is #3 "Which country eats the most meat?" (ignoring FounDit's point that it's the people who eat the meat, not the country).

************
However, it is common to speak of several things with the superlative - the 'top ten' or 'first three', 'five biggest'.

In this case, one could consider that 'most' is definite with several unique values, using the definite article:
#1. "Which countries eat the most meat?" - or -
one could consider 'most' as indefinite, as there is not a unique value:
#2. "Which countries eat most meat?"

***************
ALSO - no-one would be bothered to go through all that logic, so they just say what they feel.
You might hear all four.
However, that is the order in which you are most likely to hear them, I think - #3, #1, #2.
You are not really likely to hear #4. It's the one which really sounds 'odd' to me. It's asking for ONE definite item, but not using the definite article.

**************
On Wilmar's point - with a question like this, I would naturally look at "meat consumption per year, per capita" - but you never know. Someone might, for some odd reason, calculate "total national meat consumption per decade".
It should be specified.

Applause Thank you very much, DS. Dancing

My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 4:11:59 AM

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Joined: 9/21/2009
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Neurons: 506,178
Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
It's Australia or USA. Their ranks as first or second seem to change every year.
Whistle


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
Reiko07
Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 4:22:23 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/30/2018
Posts: 456
Neurons: 2,244
Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
It's Australia or USA. Their ranks as first or second seem to change every year.
Whistle

Thanks, JJ. Applause

My English is probably at CEFR A1 or A2 level.
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