Assuming I wanted to express "There are five apples." what of the following would be correct:

  1. Apple number is five.
  2. Apple count is five.
  3. Apples number is five.
  4. Apples count is five.

Assuming I wanted to express "There are five apples eaten by a child." what of the following would be correct:

  1. Apple(s) eaten by a child number is five. <-- Sounds like number ate an apple
  2. Apple(s) eaten by a child count is five. <-- Sounds like count ate an apple
  3. Apple(s) number eaten by a child is five. <-- Sounds like child ate a number
  4. Apple(s) count eaten by a child is five. <-- Sounds like child ate a count
  • I think this question is far too vague. Whether it's "grammatical" or not, in what possible context would anyone want to say something like There are five apples eaten by a child? (As opposed to a relatively natural statement such as A child ate five apples.) – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Nov 4 '16 at 18:27
  • Your answer is here. – P. E. Dant Nov 4 '16 at 19:02
  • @FumbleFingers Here is a context: in a computer program I want to name a variable as short as possible without losing a meaning, for ex.: "AppleCountEatenByChild" ("NumberOfApplesEatenByAChild" would be way to long for a variable name). – PowerGamer Nov 4 '16 at 20:32
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    The way I would phrase it as a "real" sentence in English is "Number of apples eaten by a child". While you can use a noun like apple as a noun adjunct, it doesn't really make sense when used like "apple number". – stangdon Nov 4 '16 at 20:49
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because the question is really about variable naming, not the standard use of English. – James K Nov 4 '16 at 21:19

The number of apples (eaten by some child) is five.

This feels a little artificial but it is grammatical. It's more natural to say:

Some child ate five apples.

Note I say "some child" rather than "a child". It's more natural, if we don't know which child, to say "some child ate the apples". If we do know which child then we would say "that child ..." or use the child's actual name.

That child has eaten five apples

Little Bobby ate five apples

Although if, for example, you're someone who doesn't like children then "the child" could be appropriate.

The child has been eating apples again.

  • Its about expressing the count of specific apples, not the fact that someone ate them. Also, I know that "number of objects" and "count of objects" is correct, I would like to get the analysis of correctness of the variants in my question. I think at least the first two in first group should be correct. – PowerGamer Nov 4 '16 at 20:37
  • @PowerGamer I understand, I went off on a tangent. None of your choices is natural English. The best way to express this is my top example, and I really can't think of anything better. – Andrew Nov 4 '16 at 21:29
  • Then what about "apple count" in the book here: books.google.com/… Also not a "natural English"? – PowerGamer Nov 4 '16 at 21:36
  • Short answer: no, it's not natural English. In a book of accounting practices, you're going to find a number of terms that apply to the context of that book, but not to ordinary conversation. After all if you opened a book of programming you wouldn't assume people say native English speakers say things like "If x equals 15 then go to line 240". There are places where you can say "apple count" or "orange count" but you have to define what you mean first (which this book does). – Andrew Nov 4 '16 at 22:14

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