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“Variety” (or is it “Varieties) is the Apple of My Eye

I love LinkedIn. Not only can you find jobs, you can find blog posts if you look carefully enough.

In one of my groups, a person asked which is correct: “Two hundred varieties of apple trees” or “Two hundred varieties of apple tree?”

As of this writing, 269 comments have been posted. Not that I’ve read all of them, but the majority seem to think tree is correct. Those that teach foreign languages think it’s trees because that’s the way it is in the foreign language.

My research tells me the correct usage can be found in the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. It defines variety as “a number or collection of different things or people,” and gives as examples “The talks covered a wide/great variety of topics,” “The company sells a variety of gardening products,” “They broke up for a variety of reasons,”  “The conference attracts a wide variety of people,” and “He has a variety of health problems.”

All include plural objects (italics added).

However, some say that if the speaker refers to the object as a single class or genus, then saying “varieties of apple tree” would be correct. I’m not the grammar expert, so I don’t know if that’s true. What I do know is I have used the singular object for years, and I might just be wrong.

Until next time! Use the right words!


July 15, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , ,

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