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Thread: fruit and vegetables countable/uncountable

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    fruit and vegetables countable/uncountable

    I am desparately inquisitive about the difference between the concept of the two words, "fruit" and "vegetable."
    As the following show, we often see the set of an uncountable noun "fruit" and a plural noun "vegetables". What is the difference with "fruits and vegetables" in those contexts?
    Thank you so much for your kind support in advance!

    Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. (OALD)
    We buy our fruit and vegetables at the market. (OALD)
    plenty of garden space to keep our deep freezes supplied with fruit and vegetables (NOAD)

  2. #2
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    Re: fruit and vegetables countable/uncountable

    Welcome to the forum.

    Ah, the English language at its most illogical!

    Indeed, "fruit" is considered as an uncountable noun, but only in reference to fruit as a category of foods. We can certainly say "fruits", but this tends to refer to different types of fruits (e.g. "apples, bananas and mandarins are fruits eaten throughout the world" but "fruit is widely consumed throughout the world").

    Bizarrely, the same cannot be said of vegetables, which is a countable noun in either context.
    Veuillez me corriger, et n'oubliez pas la règle d'or de la traduction : CONTEXTE | Please correct me, and remember the golden rule: CONTEXT

  3. #3
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    Re: fruit and vegetables countable/uncountable

    Hi, nasumin, and welcome to the board.

    This topic has been discussed many times before.

    For example, here:

    http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=612699

    Rover

  4. #4
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    Re: fruit and vegetables countable/uncountable

    Quote Originally Posted by cropje_jnr View Post
    Welcome to the forum.

    Ah, the English language at its most illogical!

    Indeed, "fruit" is considered as an uncountable noun, but only in reference to fruit as a category of foods. We can certainly say "fruits", but this tends to refer to different types of fruits (e.g. "apples, bananas and mandarins are fruits eaten throughout the world" but "fruit is widely consumed throughout the world").

    Bizarrely, the same cannot be said of vegetables, which is a countable noun in either context.

    Thank you so much for the reply! I'm somewhat relieved to hear English is also illogical and this issue is bizarre.

    Talking of a category of foods (or food?), vegetable looks rather exceptional compared with meat, pultry, grain, dairy...

    Why is "vegetable" so different from other categories?

  5. #5
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    Belfast, Ireland
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    Re: fruit and vegetables countable/uncountable

    It takes two to tangle.

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