Very deep fried foods

Usually, the grammar questions in ESL textbooks etc are meant to have one answer. Sometimes, though, students produce answers which are correct in a way not intended by the question writer, or which might be correct in a specific context.

Yesterday’s activity included reordering these words to make a sentence:

healthy / deep / very / foods / aren’t / fried

The expected answer is ‘Deep fried foods aren’t very healthy’. Most students managed that, but two produced ‘Very healthy foods aren’t deep fried’, which is a perfect sentence and equally true, so I ticked it, but it is perhaps less usual and natural. I can’t think of any reason why – I’ll have to rely on native speaker intuition.  I can’t help wondering whether that second sentence would ever have occurred to me.

Several students also produced ‘Very deep fried foods aren’t healthy’, which is grammatical, but not ever said in real life. Foods are either fried, pan-fried, shallow-fried or deep-fried. I searched online for ‘very deep fried’ and couldn’t find any reference.

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