Translation:She buys one kilogram of potato in total.
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We do differentiate between the two statements, but they are are somewhat interchangeable. The difference is that the latter statement (uma batata de um quilo) specifically refers to one potato, while in the former sentence (um quilo de batatas), it is the kilo that matters. So you could go to the market to buy a kilo of potatoes but come back with only one potato weighing one kilogram. You say "a kilo of potatoes" because usually you need more than one potato to get a kilogram of them, but it is perfectly possible to find one potato that weighs a kilogram.
In that situation, "um quilo de batatas" then becomes wrong, but when you set out you didn't know that you'd only find one potato did you? You were looking for a kilo of the things
That's right. So, I think that it's just not necessarily the same, but If I say "a kilo of potatoes", it may include the possibility of one only potato.
The reason I wrote that is that I saw they say it only can be mashed potatoes or one only big potato if it said "A kilo of potato". I think that in Portuguese "um quilo de batata" or "...batatas" is the same, i.e. these are interchangeable. The kilo is what matters. And if it meant to specify one potato, they'd say "uma batata de um quilo".
Then I wondered how you distinguish (in English) specifically the latter. Is it "a one-kilo potato", "a potato of a kilo", even "a kilo of potato" or what?
In English, (when it's not inferable or deducible) clarification is given when it's needed... If you want a kilo of potatoes and the grocer starts picking a bunch, you say no, you want one kilo, and point to a bag. If you want a bunch of potatoes that weigh one kilo in total, and the grocer starts lifting a bag for you, then you say no, you want a bunch of them, but a one kilo bunch.
The way you distinguish is with further explanations, gestures, and body language. Plus, language is very rarely ever spoken (although it is often heard and read, like on Duolingo!) without context, so if someone is misunderstanding you, then you can always say "no, this is what I mean"
It's a bit acceptable in English too, because of the inherent ambiguity in buying a "bunch of stuff", and how that stuff is delivered. You can buy a kilo of apple or apples/potato or potatoes. It's the kilo that's important, if the multitude of what you buy seems to cause confusion, then you clarify- "Oh it was just one big potato" or, "it was a one kilo bag of potatoes", or "it was a bunch of potatoes that came up to one kilo"
Sure. If directed to buy a kilo of apple, I would expect processed apple substance-- powder, pulp, sauce. If asked for apples, I would expect whole countable fruit. So I imagine "one kilo of potato in total" to mean some combination of potato goods--chips, mash, powder, whatever form--to weigh a kilogram.