a fresh can of tennis balls / a can of fresh tennis balls

wanabee

Senior Member
Japanese
Dear all,

(On the tennis court)
Could you bring me a fresh can of tennis balls?
Could you bring me a can of fresh tennis balls?

I made up the sentences.
I'm wondering if there's any difference in meaning between the two above.

I would appreciate any comments.
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    A fresh can of tennis balls - the can is fresh, we know nothing about the balls in it
    A can of fresh tennis balls - the balls are fresh, we know nothing about the can
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    It's been a while since I've played tennis, but in casual, on-court language, I would say they both mean the same thing and I would be inclined to say the first one, despite part of me agreeing with boozer.
     

    Codyfied

    Senior Member
    Similar to the phrase "fresh cup of coffee" / "cup of fresh coffee" [The cup may be old but either way the coffee is fresh.]

    So, both phrases mean the same to me in casual conversation, also.
     
    Last edited:

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Just to mention that there never was any doubt in my mind that they are meant to mean the same. Who cares about the balls' age? :) I was just focusing on what the string of words actually says. There are similar examples that do not mean the same to me:
    a fresh glass of juice --> a new glass of juice, I may have drunk several already
    a glass of fresh juice --> the juice must be fresh, I may have drunk or been offered a couple of glasses of old sour juice
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Like Boozer, I think some people seem to be forgetting that a fresh can might easily mean a new (ie. different) can.

    It doesn't necessarily mean that it's new in the sense of coming shining off the production line.

    You could even have a fresh can which was one on several old cans in store.

    Fresh would have that meaning for me less readily for the balls inside the can, for some reason.

    In other words, I think the cans of tennis balls might behave like Boozer's glasses of juice.
     

    MikeNewYork

    Senior Member
    English-American
    Dear all,

    (On the tennis court)
    Could you bring me a fresh can of tennis balls?
    Could you bring me a can of fresh tennis balls?

    I made up the sentences.
    I'm wondering if there's any difference in meaning between the two above.

    I would appreciate any comments.
    The performance of a tennis ball depends on its internal pressure. This provides the springiness and the bounce. When tennis balls are packed they are packed in a pressure pack. This limits the leaking of internal pressure. Once a can is opened, the balls are surrounded by the lower ambient atmospheric pressure. Over time, the balls lose much of their action. Old tennis balls work better as toys for Labrador Retrievers.

    With that in mind, both of your sentences convey the same meaning, but I think the first would be more common.
     
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