Here is the sentence: Some people like them with beef or chicken, some with seafood, others like pineapple on their pizzas. Why we don't use an article before /pineapple/?
closed as unclear what you're asking by RegDwigнt♦ Oct 22 '15 at 9:10
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Because using an article changes the meaning to nonsensical things:
Others like a pineapple on their pizzas.
This says that some people like an entire pineapple on their pizzas.
Others like the pineapple on their pizzas.
This says that some people like a particular pineapple (perhaps the one on that shelf) on their pizzas.
Without the article, the sentence means that some people like a certain amount of pineapple on their pizzas, which is grammatical and sensible, if not in the gustatory sense.
Many nouns for food (food is also a mass noun) are a mass noun which is uncountable. The reason we classify them as uncountable is that we are not able to count them piece by piece and actually we can convey our meaning without using the articles.
"Others like pineapple on their pizza (pizza is also a mass noun)" could be changed to "Others like slices/pieces of pineapple on their pizza", but people don't use "slices/pieces of" because it can still make sense without them.
Mass noun is defined in Oxford Online Dictionary as:
A noun denoting something which cannot be counted (e.g. a substance or quality), in English usually a noun which lacks a plural in ordinary usage and is not used with the indefinite article, e.g. china, happiness. Contrasted with count noun.
Some mass nouns can be used as countable nouns based on the following definition:
A noun denoting something which normally cannot be counted but which may be countable when it refers to different units or types, e.g. coffee (drank some coffee, ordered two coffees).
Pineapple can be used in a plural form:
I would like to buy 2 pineapples.