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juice or juices

English translation: juice and juices - but meaning is not always plural of the singular

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:juice or juices
English translation:juice and juices - but meaning is not always plural of the singular
Entered by: Michael Powers (PhD)
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00:23 Dec 11, 2003
English to English translations [PRO]
Science - Linguistics
English term or phrase: juice or juices
I would like to settle an argument. Can the word "juice" be used as singular and plural? For instance, if you are describing two distinct kinds of juices (ie. apple and peach) shouldn't it be juices? Example: "I will get the children's juices" (apple and peach).
Thanks!
Beth Oakley
juice and juices - but meaning is not always plural of the singular
Explanation:
Mike :)

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Note added at 6 mins (2003-12-11 00:29:29 GMT)
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An explanation is necessary. For example, we can talk about different grape juices or different types of grape juice. In this sense, it is obviously the plural of the singular, grape juice although specifying different varieties.

However, there are a number of expressions in which \"juices\" is used in a different sense; for example, \"creative juices.\"

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Note added at 7 mins (2003-12-11 00:30:51 GMT)
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When actually talking about the different varieties of juice, then quite often the plural is used such as \"vegetable and fruit juices\" or \"healing juices\" etc.

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Note added at 14 mins (2003-12-11 00:37:24 GMT)
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In your example, it is much more common to say \"the children\'s juice\" but that could imply that they have the same type of juice. If you want to emphasize the fact that there are at least two different juices, then \"the children\'s juices\" is fine. If you do not want to emphasize this fact, the use of \"juice\" is singular does not necessarily imply that they drink the same type of juice.

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Note added at 37 mins (2003-12-11 01:01:02 GMT)
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It is extremely important to be careful about using \"juices\" to refer to different types of a drink when the antecedent is a person unless there is a qualifier such as \"beverage juices\" etc. The reason for this is because quite often \"juices\" is used to refer to semen when the antecedent is human and there is no qualifier. Therefore, it would be much better in the sentence given above, to avoid any possibility of misunderstanding, to restate it with an appropriate qualifier such as: \"I will get the children\'s beverage juices\" or \"I will get the different types of juice for the children.\" It is not common at all to use \"juices\" after a human antecedent without a qualifier.
Selected response from:

Michael Powers (PhD)
United States
Local time: 03:24
Grading comment
Thanks to all! I conclude from these responses that we were both right in some ways.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
5 +5juice and juices - but meaning is not always plural of the singular
Michael Powers (PhD)
5 +3correct usage here is juiceRHELLER
4 +1water or waters air or airs
Vladimir Dubisskiy
5Even ifxxxBourth
3 +11 substance juice vs 2 a glass of juice vs 3 varieties of juices
chica nueva
3I wonder if....Charlie Bavington


  

Answers


4 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +5
juice and juices - but meaning is not always plural of the singular


Explanation:
Mike :)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 mins (2003-12-11 00:29:29 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

An explanation is necessary. For example, we can talk about different grape juices or different types of grape juice. In this sense, it is obviously the plural of the singular, grape juice although specifying different varieties.

However, there are a number of expressions in which \"juices\" is used in a different sense; for example, \"creative juices.\"

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 7 mins (2003-12-11 00:30:51 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

When actually talking about the different varieties of juice, then quite often the plural is used such as \"vegetable and fruit juices\" or \"healing juices\" etc.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 mins (2003-12-11 00:37:24 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

In your example, it is much more common to say \"the children\'s juice\" but that could imply that they have the same type of juice. If you want to emphasize the fact that there are at least two different juices, then \"the children\'s juices\" is fine. If you do not want to emphasize this fact, the use of \"juice\" is singular does not necessarily imply that they drink the same type of juice.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 37 mins (2003-12-11 01:01:02 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

It is extremely important to be careful about using \"juices\" to refer to different types of a drink when the antecedent is a person unless there is a qualifier such as \"beverage juices\" etc. The reason for this is because quite often \"juices\" is used to refer to semen when the antecedent is human and there is no qualifier. Therefore, it would be much better in the sentence given above, to avoid any possibility of misunderstanding, to restate it with an appropriate qualifier such as: \"I will get the children\'s beverage juices\" or \"I will get the different types of juice for the children.\" It is not common at all to use \"juices\" after a human antecedent without a qualifier.

Michael Powers (PhD)
United States
Local time: 03:24
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 136
Grading comment
Thanks to all! I conclude from these responses that we were both right in some ways.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gayle Wallimann
5 hrs

agree  David Sirett: ...but your last note is laughable! What proportion of English speakers do you consider would think that "children's juices" refers to their bodily fluids?!! And "beverage juices"?!
7 hrs

agree  Madeleine MacRae Klintebo: ... but David's comment is correct
8 hrs

agree  Charlie Bavington: ...and definitely agree with David about your last comment !
9 hrs

agree  chopra_2002
1 day 1 hr
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50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
Even if


Explanation:
you have several glasses of the same kind of juice, you could say "I'll get the children's juices", just as you might take a bunch of guys relaxing on the deck "their beers" (several glasses or cans of the same kind of beer). In these cases, "juices" or "beers" is shorthand for "glasses (or cans) of ....".

But there is no NEED to use these words in the plural, and you could take people their juice or beer (cans, jugs, bottles, glasses of different kinds or the same kind of juice or beer).

It's a matter of how your mind reads events.

I wonder if the majority of people think (or thinks?) like me! [do you make the verb agree with the singular "majority" or with the plural "people"? Both are possible].



xxxBourth
Local time: 09:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
water or waters air or airs


Explanation:
'juice' here may be considered a medium (it does not matter what kind of juice it is), like 'water' or 'air'.
You can hardly say 'waters' (say, describing clear and, say, tinted water), or 'airs'..
Does it make sense?

Vladimir Dubisskiy
United States
Local time: 02:24
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in UkrainianUkrainian
PRO pts in category: 3

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Charlie Bavington: I would quite happily say "I'll go and get the waters" if I was fetching more than one bottle of water (see also Bourth's 'beers' comment), but there again, I do sometimes put on airs .... :-) !!
2 hrs

neutral  Nancy Arrowsmith: one used to "take the waters" and "put on airs"
20 hrs

agree  foreigner
2165 days
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9 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
I wonder if....


Explanation:
... if isn't just a question of the way the speaker is thinking about it at the time they speak. So they'd say 'juice' if they were just thinking of 'the stuff that you drink in general', and 'juices' if they were thinking of 'a plural number of containers with juice in them'

A bit like the difference between saying "I'll get the children's food" and "I'll get the children's meals". D'y see what I mean?

Charlie Bavington
Local time: 08:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 28
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2 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +3
correct usage here is juice


Explanation:
I will get the children's juice
juice is like sugar and money - not counted

if you are speaking of glasses of juice, then you count each individual glass

even if the beer or the juice is a different flavor/brew, one would still say "juice"

the only exception is more than one breed or species
like different wines (varieties), types of fishes (species)

I know this is difficult to grasp but it sounds awful to the trained ear to hear "juices"



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Note added at 16 hrs 37 mins (2003-12-11 17:00:34 GMT)
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http://webster.commnet.edu/grammar/noun_exercise.htm

In column 4, we could place nouns such as paper, stone, and cake that can be either count or non-count nouns. For instance, I can enter a bakery and say \"I want a cake\" (an individual bakery product), or, before we enter, I can tell a friend that \"I want cake\" and not refer to a specific cake but simply mean that the idea of eating cake appeals to me — any cake or piece of cake with chocolate frosting will do, thank you.

It is this fourth column of nouns that confounds many writers. The distinction we make here between count and non-count is important for two reasons: it makes a difference whether we use an article with the noun or not and the meaning of the word can change depending on whether it is being used in its count or non-count form.

When a non-count noun is used to classify something, it can be treated as a count noun. Thus, wine is usually a non-count noun (\"I\'d love wine with dinner\"), and even if we have more than one glass of wine, we\'re still enjoying wine, not wines. But when we put wine into categories, the noun becomes countable: \"There are many fine Canadian wines.\" Even water can become countable under the right circumstances: \"the waters of the Pacific Ocean are noticeably colder this year.\" Sometimes a noun will be either countable or non-countable and mean practically the same thing:

Chilean wine is superb.
Chilean wines are superb.

RHELLER
United States
Local time: 01:24
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 59

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gayle Wallimann
3 hrs
  -> thanks Gayle :-)

agree  Madeleine MacRae Klintebo
5 hrs
  -> thanks Madeleine!

neutral  Charlie Bavington: I have to say, Rita, that I personally don't find 'juices' that awful... (there again, maybe you should hear the rubbish I come out with sometimes !!)
6 hrs
  -> Dearest Charlie, I take this Eng-Eng section very seriously because non-native speakers genuinely seek help understanding; please refer to added reference; in any case, you are entitled to your opinion:-)

agree  xxxsarahl: thanks for the explanation. The plural form did sound odd to me but I couldn't say why.
1 day 1 hr
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1 day 8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
1 substance juice vs 2 a glass of juice vs 3 varieties of juices


Explanation:
This might help answer part of your question:

From LG Alexander, Longman English Grammer:

Normally uncountable nouns used as countables
...
1 Note also many words for drinks, which are uncountable when we think of them as substances.

eg Beer/coffee/tea is expensive these days.

2 However,we can sometimes use a/an to mean eg a glass of, etc or numbers in front of these words, or we can make them plural, for example when we are ordering in a restaurant:

eg A (or One) beer, please. Two teas and four coffees, please

My note based on Alexander:
3 This region produces an excellent wine.
This cafe has (a selection of )really nice juices.

Hope this helps.


chica nueva
Local time: 21:24
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  foreigner
2164 days
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Changes made by editors
Dec 30, 2008 - Changes made by Michael Powers (PhD):
FieldOther » Science
Field (specific)(none) » Linguistics
Dec 30, 2008 - Changes made by Michael Powers (PhD):
LevelNon-PRO » PRO


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