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If I were to ask something like "Can I have one more apple", I would apparently say

Kann ich noch einen Apfel?

Using noch.

If I were to ask something like "Can I have more apples?" (Only taking out the word "one" and making "apple" singular) I would apparently say:

Kann ich mehr Äpfel?

How am I to know when to use mehr over noch? Do I only use noch when talking about a singular object? Do I only use mehr when talking about plural objects?

  • 4
    I don't like "Kann ich noch einen Apfel?" I'd say "Kann ich mir noch einen Apfel nehmen? Kann ich noch einen Apfel essen? Kann ich noch einen Apfel haben?" – Earthliŋ Jun 26 '15 at 23:19
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    Not using haben in your example is considered bad style. Small children usually get corrected for omitting it. That said, while you can use noch in either example (Can ich noch Äpfel haben?), mehr should normally only be used in case of uncountable / plural objects and can also be combined with noch (Kann ich noch mehr Wasser haben? Heute gibt es mehr Schnee als gestern). It does work with simple plurals as well (Kann ich mehr Knödel haben?), although I'd consider it definitely less elegant. – Ingmar Jun 27 '15 at 4:16
  • @Ingmar: Je kleiner das Obst und je häufiger man mehrere davon nimmt ... - "kann ich noch mehr Erdbeeren/Kirschen haben?". Bei einer Verpflegung für eine längere Tour, bei der es durchaus üblich wäre mehrere Äpfel mitzunehmen wäre eine solche Formulierung für Äpfel aber auch ganz natürlich. – user unknown Jun 27 '15 at 8:37
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As a commenter, I don´t like the sentences at all. Literally,

Kann ich noch einen Apfel?

would mean something like

Can I another apple? (no "have" etc. here)

People will understand that you want to have another one, but still... Append a essen/haben/nehmen/kaufen/... (eat/have/take/buy), whatever you want to do. And even better than

Kann ich noch einen Apfel nehmen? <=> Can I take another apple?

would be

Darf ich noch einen Apfel nehmen? <=> May I take take another apple?

It´s nitpicking, but you don´t need t ask the other person if you are able to take it.

About noch, einen and mehr: Let´s start with a simple

Darf ich einen Apfel nehmen?
May I take a apple?
(or)
May I take one apple?

Ok when you´re asking for the first apple, strange if you have already one.

Darf ich noch einen Apfel nehmen?
May I take another apple?

You have already one or more apples, but you still want another one.
From another angle: Repeated "one". Asking multiple times with einen would imply that you´ve forgotten the apples you already have, so starting with the second question, add a noch
(and don´t ask 10 times for a single apple)

Darf ich mehrere Äpfel nehmen? (attention, plural Ä)
May I take multiple apples?

You currently have no apples and want an unspecified amount (at least two, else use einen).
Instead of multiple, you can/should insert an specific amount.

Darf ich noch mehr Äpfel nehmen? (attention, not noch mehrere)
May I take even more apples?

You already have some apples and want more.

Darf ich mehr Äpfel nehmen?
May I take more apples [than I already took / than you just gave me /
than my brother took]?

Depending on the situation:
a) It´s similar to noch mehr (you have already and want more), but not suited for repeated questions (at least starting with the second mehr, add a noch).
b) You want more than some comparison amount (brothers apples etc.). In this case, it doesn´t matter if you have already some apples or not.

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