as many apples as need to be cooked - verb

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Annakrutitskaya

Senior Member
Russian
Hello!

In this sentence I don't understand the style.

"We have AS MANY apples AS need to be cooked"

The usage of the verb 'need' frustrates me. There is a noun phrase 'many apples' in one part of construction followed by the verb 'need' in the second part of this idiomatic construction.

According to my feeling (most likely, completely wrong one :)), something like ' as many apples as needed for' would sound better and stylistically more 'clean'. It seems that I am not acquainted with this type of construction.

Please, help me :)
 
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  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Can you tell us where you found the sentence and what the context is, Anna? The sentence is grammatical, but the most likely meaning is one for which it is hard for me to imagine a plausible context.
     

    figgles

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, it is slightly idiomatic -- and sounds old and formal. There is a missing "you" there. When you change the order slightly, the "you" appears.

    "We have AS MANY apples AS [you] need to be cooked." -> "We have as many apples to be cooked as you need."

    Honestly, what sounds the best is: "We have as many apples as you [will] need for cooking".

    The sentence "We have as many apples as [will be] needed for cooking" uses the passive -- this is OK too, just not my favorite.
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Yes, it is slightly idiomatic -- and sounds old and formal. There is a missing "you" there. When you change the order slightly, the "you" appears.

    "We have AS MANY apples AS [you] need to be cooked." -> "We have as many apples to be cooked as you need."

    Honestly, what sounds the best is: "We have as many apples as you [will] need for cooking".

    The sentence "We have as many apples as [will be] needed for cooking" uses the passive -- this is OK too, just not my favorite.
    Thank you so much - now it is all clear :) I had that feeling of a missing word but couldn't come up with a correct one :) Thank you :) And, yes, this does sound best to me too "Honestly, what sounds the best is: "We have as many apples as you [will] need for cooking""
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Sorry, I was sure I've mentioned - GMAT prep :)

    Ah -- which is to say, no context.

    I'm not sure how Figgles figures there's a missing "you" -- you did type the sentence correctly, didn't you? To me, the sentence as you typed it means, "We have all the apples which must be cooked." An odd thing to say, I would think. The form of the sentence is also rather uncommon. Compare something like "[W]e can share our expertise with as many people as need our services" (source), where "as many ... as need" means "all who need."

    Edited to add: I also have to disagree with Figgles, in that "We have as many apples as you need to be cooked" is very unidiomatic and borderline ungrammatical. I can't even tell what it is supposed to mean: "We have as many cooked apples as you need," or "We have as many apples as you need for cooking"?
     

    figgles

    Senior Member
    American English
    True, I did invent a context. Sorry about that. I imagined a chef saying this to someone. :D

    True -- it could mean "We have all of the apples which must be cooked."

    Yes, passives aren't fun. I would never suggest "We have as many apples as you need to be cooked", though it is more clear if you arrange it as ""We have as many apples to be cooked as you need." This implies that the apples are not yet cooked, but however many you will need, we have them!
     

    Annakrutitskaya

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Ah -- which is to say, no context.

    I'm not sure how Figgles figures there's a missing "you" -- you did type the sentence correctly, didn't you? To me, the sentence as you typed it means, "We have all the apples which must be cooked." An odd thing to say, I would think. The form of the sentence is also rather uncommon. Compare something like "[W]e can share our expertise with as many people as need our services" (source), where "as many ... as need" means "all who need."

    Edited to add: I also have to disagree with Figgles, in that "We have as many apples as you need to be cooked" is very unidiomatic and borderline ungrammatical. I can't even tell what it is supposed to mean: "We have as many cooked apples as you need," or "We have as many apples as you need for cooking"?
    Thank you very much! Yes, I have typed the sentences correctly, and GMAT insists that this a correct usage, as you confirmed. Thank you - now I understand this structure :)
     
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