# My typical, easily confused self

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#### Anonymous

##### Guest
Okay. Here we go. If I were to say, " I have 4 apples and oranges," should that be interpreted as having 4 apples and 4 oranges, 4 apples and an unspecified number of oranges, or a total of 4 fruits? Thanks for the help. I know by restructuring the sentence, it could be clarified, but this sentence has boggled me for some time.

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
Anonymous said:
Okay. Here we go. If I were to say, " I have 4 apples and oranges," should that be interpreted as having 4 apples and 4 oranges, 4 apples and an unspecified number of oranges, or a total of 4 fruits? Thanks for the help. I know by restructuring the sentence, it could be clarified, but this sentence has boggled me for some time.

I have 4 apples and oranges.
=> I have 4 pieces of fruit. [edited]

I have four [apples], and oranges.
=> 4 apples, and some oranges.

#### grc15r

##### New member
Thanks for the help. I appreciate it. I was always taught that a comma would only be used for separating items in a list...which leads me to my next question. How could I say the boys and girls in the class total to 21 students? (For example, I couldn't say "There are 21 boys and girls in the class.) I'm always perplexed by the simplest grammatical rules.

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
grc15r said:
Thanks for the help. I appreciate it. I was always taught that a comma would only be used for separating items in a list...which leads me to my next question. How could I say the boys and girls in the class total to 21 students? (For example, I couldn't say "There are 21 boys and girls in the class.) I'm always perplexed by the simplest grammatical rules.

If punctuation perplexes, use words instead, like this,

There are 21 boys and 11 girls in the class.

There are a total of 21 students, boys and girls, in the class.

#### grc15r

##### New member
Actually, I prefer the punctuation. I enjoy seeing examples with the correct punctuation that I can emulate in my own writing. It's very helpful. (For example, "4 oranges, and apples" as opposed to "4 oranges and apples," makes pefect sense now.)

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
grc15r said:
Actually, I prefer the punctuation. I enjoy seeing examples with the correct punctuation that I can emulate in my own writing. It's very helpful. (For example, "4 oranges, and apples" as opposed to "4 oranges and apples," makes pefect sense now.)

That's great!

I've apples and 4 oranges.:shock:

#### Tdol

##### Editor, UsingEnglish.com
Staff member
Casiopea said:
grc15r said:
Actually, I prefer the punctuation. I enjoy seeing examples with the correct punctuation that I can emulate in my own writing. It's very helpful. (For example, "4 oranges, and apples" as opposed to "4 oranges and apples," makes pefect sense now.)

That's great!

I've apples and 4 oranges.:shock:

Mind you, it does seem unfair to the poor old apples not to count them. ;-)

#### RonBee

##### Moderator
If somebody said "I have four apples and oranges" I would probably think they meant they had four fruits. After all, the normal way of saying that would be either to specify each or to specify neither. Thus, a person might say I have four apples and four oranges or I have some apples and some oranges.

#### Casiopea

##### VIP Member
RonBee said:
If somebody said "I have four apples and oranges" I would probably think they meant they had four fruits.

Thanks!

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