very soft and sweet

a. The fruit I tasted was very soft and sweet.

It seems to me that (a) is ambiguous. It could mean

  1. The fruit I ate was very soft and very sweet.

or

  1. The fruit I tasted was very soft and it was also sweet.

depending on the context.

Would you say that is correct?

How can one avoid ‘very’ modifying ‘sweet’?

Do these work

b. The fruit I tasted was sweet and very soft.

c. The fruit I tasted was sweet and also very soft.

d. The fruit I tasted was very soft, and sweet.

I think (d) might work in spoken English, but it still seems ambiguous to me. ‘And sweet’ seems to have been added on as an afterthought, and it is not clear whether the speaker meant ‘very sweet’ or just ‘sweet’.

Many thanks.

Answer

Usually, there’s no need to differentiate. If one states,

“The fruit I ate was very soft and sweet”, then

No one would wonder whether the fruit is actually very sweet or simply sweet unless it was of critical importance (a judge’s assessment of a fruit-growing contest?). If the sentence needs to state that the fruit is sweet but not very sweet, then another adjective must be added before “fruit” to denote the fruit’s mediocrity.

“The fruit I ate was very soft and slightly sweet”

This isn’t as much of an issue when the sentence can be conjoined with “yet” or “but”, because then “very” applying to both of them is rather contradictory.

“The fruit I ate was very soft yet very rough on the outside”

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : azz , Answer Author : user45266

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