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I've always understood the plural of fruit to be fruit, not fruits.

I was looking at some marketing material and they used the word "fruits" in the following context:

A unique infusion made with ... strawberry, raspberry and cranberry fruits

In discussion with someone about this sentence, he described that the plural of person is not necessarily always people, and could be persons. Therefore it's possible that fruits could be a legitimate plural form.

Is fruits used correctly in this context, or could it be used correctly in ANY context?

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If you are talking about several different kinds of fruit, it is generally acceptable to use fruits. Your example of strawberry, raspberry and cranberry fruits is an instance of this. –  Peter Shor May 13 '11 at 1:44
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It's also quite redundant, since "fruits" would be assumed unless you specified the flowers, leaves, roots or bark of the plants that bear the fruit. (Infusions of wood are, I suppose, possible, but extremely rare.) –  bye Jun 24 '11 at 3:43
    
This really begs someone to give a snappy distinction between “fruit of one’s loins” (one’s offspring) and “fruits of one’s loins” (either one’s male packaging, or one’s gay offspring). Sorry. :) –  tchrist May 2 '12 at 21:36

5 Answers 5

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Fruit can be used as an uncountable noun or a countable noun in which case the plural form would be fruits. In the example sentence, both usages are acceptable.

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I agree with both Peter and Jasper. You would say "some kinds of fruit" but "three fruits." –  KitFox May 13 '11 at 1:54
    
im not sure i understand the difference between uncountable and countable nouns? –  xerxesb May 15 '11 at 8:45
    
@xerxesb Please see my answer for a slightly more detailed explanation. –  Pitarou Feb 15 '12 at 12:52

If you want to talk about two apples and an orange, you would not use fruits, but pieces of fruit.

John ate three pieces of fruit; he must have been hungry.

If you want to talk about different kinds of fruit, you use fruits:

John's three favorite fruits are apples, bananas, and papayas.

If you want to say John ate two orange segments and a quarter of an apple, I don't know what you do:

John ate three pieces of pieces of fruit. *
John ate three slices of fruit. ??

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Three fruit pieces? Three fruit slices? –  KitFox May 13 '11 at 19:18
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Maybe "three morsels of fruit." –  Peter Shor May 15 '11 at 1:55
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I don't see anything wrong with "pieces of fruit". It's what I'd say. –  Pitarou Feb 15 '12 at 13:28

Fruit is an uncountable noun, so it has no plural form.

If you want to talk about two apples and an orange, you would not use fruits, but different fruit. (pieces are part of a whole) John ate three different fruit; he must have been hungry. If you want to talk about different kinds of fruit, you use fruit. What fruit do you like? I like apples, oranges and bananas. What is your favorite fruit? Apples. What are your favorite fruit? Apples and oranges.

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O loke toe oat, O loke toe oat, O loke toe oat oat opals owned bononos... –  MT_Head Jun 24 '11 at 3:06
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fruits can be used to describe different variaties of fruit, ie. fruits and vegetables –  snumpy Jun 24 '11 at 16:12

In my opinion, "fruit" has a plural form. When one uses "fruit", it means a single fruit like mango, orange, and so on. But when we use "fruits" it refers to different kinds of fruit; for example "there are fruits in the basket" means that there is more than one type of fruit in the basket.

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One would seldom say there are several fruits in a basket; it is more common by far to say that there are several pieces of fruit in a basket, or several different kinds of fruit. Fruit as a count noun is much less frequent than as a mass noun. –  tchrist May 2 '12 at 21:34

Your example sentence is fine. The plural of fruit is fruits. You are confused over the matter of countable and uncountable nouns.

This is tricky to explain, because there are few strict rules about which nouns are countable and uncountable, so I will hope you will forgive this over-simplified account:

  • Some nouns (e.g. chair) are countable. We can say "one chair", "two chairs", etc. They have singular and plural forms.
  • Other nouns are uncountable. We do not say "one furniture" "two furnitures". There is no plural form of furniture.
  • Many nouns have both countable and uncountable senses. E.g. you can have a bar of chocolate [uncountable], or a box of chocolates [countable, plural].
  • Nouns for classes of foodstuff (fruit, meat, cheese, etc.) are usually uncountable, but they take a countable sense when we talk about different varieties (a wide selection of cold meats and cheeses).

Your example sentence talks about different varieties of fruit, so fruits is fine.

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protected by RegDwigнt May 2 '12 at 19:27

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