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A grammar edit I suggested on another site was rejected. The answerer only fixed an obvious grammatical number error as I suggested, rejecting my proposed edit on another line that grates on me. (Side note: I didn't have enough rep on Seasoned Advice to make edits without going through the review process, so I edited out the double spaces in order to meet the 6-character requirement.) This is the line in question that sounds a bit strange to me, even jarring:

I prefer to remove both ends, and the rind first. Then, slice in length-wise wedges.

I proposed changing it to

Then, slice it into length-wise wedges.

We commonly say "slice/cut something (a lemon/a melon/an apple) into wedges". Colloquially we also say "We sliced/cut some potato wedges," meaning "We sliced some potatoes into wedges."

However, the original line in that answer just grates on me. In informal speech we can dispense with the object "it/the watermelon", but I don't know what "in" is supposed to mean in that sentence. How does that line strike your ear? Does it sound okay to you?

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Recipes often use abbreviated language, since you want people to be able to read them quickly. Googling the exact phrase "slice in wedges" returns a lot of hits, some with questionable English, but some quite fluent. For example, step 1 of this recipe from a major magazine begins as follows:

Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Cut plums in half and discard pits. Slice in wedges and place in a bowl.

You'll notice that there are a lot of grammar "mistakes" here. For example, both "oven" and "plums" should have a definite article preceding them and "pits" should take either an article or a possessive pronoun. Then both the "slice" and "place" verbs are completely missing their direct objects, and there's the shortening of "slice into" down to "slice in" that you're uncomfortable with. However, native speakers are familiar with "slice in" from the phrase "slice in half," so this abbreviation shouldn't cause any confusion.

And that's just the way that recipes are often written! Lots of things are dropped out in order to make them easily readable at a glance while your hands are all covered in plum juice or you have mere seconds before the stuff in the pan starts burning. Recipe English can be almost like headlinese in its commitment to brevity.

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  • I wouldn't have had any issue with article dropping or object/subject omission, as I know it is common in recipe writing. But this is no article dropping. This particular case still sounds like a preposition misuse to me. That post and your cited example both talk about slicing a globe-shaped object into thin wedges, and I don't think "slice in half" is what's meant here. "Slice in wedges" simply doesn't make sense to me and the only reason there is minimum confusion, I think, is because of the context. "In" here does not help at all.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jul 21, 2020 at 20:39
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    @EddieKal - One of the standard meanings of "in" is as a synonym for "into" in the sense of "indicating entry" (i.e., "Go in/into the house"). This is just using "in" as a synonym for "into" in another sense - that of "transforming the state" of something. Jul 21, 2020 at 20:46
  • OK, fair enough.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jul 21, 2020 at 20:49
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    I just thought of a similar use: "cut in pieces," which sounds even more natural to me than "slice in wedges" (and has many more google hits) but uses "in" exactly the same way. Jul 21, 2020 at 20:56

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