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Example sentences:

  1. I want the crate that contains the highest number of apples.

  2. I want the crate that contains the most apples.

Is sentence 2 correct and with the same meaning as 1? If not, is there another shorter way to say the same thing?

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    "highest number of apples" does not sound right. I would say "greatest number of applies". I think this is another case of the distinction between things you can measure and things you can count. – David42 Sep 16 '16 at 21:25
  • @David42 I agree, it should be "greatest number of apples" (or "largest number of apples"). But I don't see how this is a distinction between things you can measure and things you can count. I would also refer to "the greatest amount of sugar" (or "the largest amount of sugar") - never "the highest amount of sugar"). – rjpond Feb 4 at 9:46
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    @rjpond I now think I was mistaken. I not sure what makes "highest number of apples" weird. Perhaps it is that one does not actually count apples. And talking about the "highest number" makes it sound like one is keeping records, not looking at baskets of apples sitting on the floor. – David42 Feb 5 at 0:28
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  • I want the crate that contains the greatest number of apples.
  • I want the crate that contains the largest number of apples.
  • I want the crate that contains the most apples.
  • I want the crate that contains most apples.

These sentences all mean the same. Occasionally, "contains most apples" means that most of the apples are in that crate, but usually it will be interpreted as meaning the same as the other three sentences, especially where the context doesn't allow for the "majority of apples" interpretation.

We could also say:

  • I want the crate with the most apples.

However, to be polite, it is often better to say:

  • I would like the crate with the most apples.
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  • Thanks! I moved the accepted mark to this answer, as it is more detailed. – Federico Poloni Feb 4 at 10:14
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Yes it's correct and has the same meaning.

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  • Thanks! Sorry if this seems a stupid question, but the construction looked unusual enough to trigger a warning in my head, and I did not find a quick answer online. – Federico Poloni Sep 16 '16 at 11:13

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