Everything Language and Grammar

Ripe in One to Two Days

Posted by languageandgrammar on July 21, 2008

Warning: The following post contains information that might be interpreted as “the old days were better than today.”

Summer fruit, such as nectarines, peaches, and plums, used to be my favorite types of fruit–flavorful and moist; however, the fruit that I now typically find in the grocery store is as hard as a rock–and just as juicy. I call most of the fruit in the grocery stores “spalding brand” since it would be better served with a baseball bat or 7-iron than with lunch.

I don’t know if it’s genetic engineering of the fruit designed to give it a longer shelf life, or if it’s the fact that the fruit has to be picked before it’s ripe since it’s sent across the country or from the southern part of the globe, but fruit never used to be like this. You used to be able to go to the store and buy soft, edible fruit.

Some of the stores have now started to put signs in front of the spalding fruit that say something such as This fruit will be ripe in one or two days. I’m no fruit expert, but that sounds suspicious to me. Fruit ripens on the tree; it doesn’t ripen in a grocery store or on your window sill. It might get softer–if you’re lucky, soft enough to be able to eat without paying for your dentist’s heated swimming pool–but I don’t think it gets more ripe. The ripe in a couple of days line is an attempt to make it sound as if rock-hard fruit is to be expected.

If you’re reading this and think I’m a curmudgeon; don’t blame me. You saw the warning at the beginning of the post.

–Paul

Paul’s book–Literally, the Best Language Book Ever;

Sherry’s Grammar List

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One Response to “Ripe in One to Two Days”

  1. David Johnstone said

    I would like for you to address the use of the word “more” as in, ‘but I don’t think it gets more ripe’ Wouldn’t riper be simpler or maybe more simple to use. I’ve noticed the use of the word more used with greater regularity, and I might add incorrectly. Recently overheard on local news programs:

    more quickly (quicker) the local traffic reporter stated that the traffic was moving more quickly now that the accident was removed.

    more hot (hotter) the weatherman noted that the increased temperatures would make it more hot this afternoon.

    The use of the word more should be used less!

    Reply from Paul: Thanks for your comment, David. I haven’t particularly noticed a trend toward using the comparative case less often, but I’ll listen more carefully for that in the future.

    My philosophy is that “more” or “most” with the root word is never incorrect, and there are times when merely adding “er” or “est” to the root word is incorrect (such as stupidest, which Sherry recently wrote about). As far as the example you mentioned, my using “more ripe” instead of “riper,” the terms “riper” and “ripest” sound a little awkward. I’m not saying that they’re wrong, but it’s that awkwardness that led me to use “more ripe.”

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