fruit and vegetables countable/uncountable

Discussion in 'English Only' started by nasumin, Aug 11, 2009.

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  1. nasumin New Member

    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. cropje_jnr

    cropje_jnr Senior Member

    Canberra, Australia
    English - Australia
    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.
  3. nasumin New Member


    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? :confused:
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
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