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This earlier question Is using “fruits” as the plural of “fruit” acceptable? has a number of answers as to whether fruit can be in the plural form fruits.

The consensus of the answers there seems to be to use the singular fruit in general and use the plural fruits only to describe "different varieties/kinds of fruit".

But I think there's more to it than that.

According to Ngram, eat more fruits and vegetables is substantially more frequently used than eat more fruit and vegetables.

I'm not sure if fruit in this phrase necessarily denotes different varieties/kinds of fruit. But even if it does, the same phrase shows more hits for the singular fruit in British English.

Of course, the same phrase shows substantially more hits for the plural fruits in American English.

Now, returning to the original Ngram, it seems to me that the more hits for the plural fruits is apparently due to the fact that the gap between the two uses is larger in American English than in British English, regardless of whether fruit in the phrase actually refers to "different varieties/kinds of fruits".

Am I on to something or am I mistaken?

EDIT

For those AE speakers who say Americans never "say" fruits regardless of the prevalent proof that they "write" fruits, here's some proof saying otherwise:

(1) Study: Eat 10 daily servings of fruits and vegetables by Fox News

(2) Dr. Campbell: Eating more fruits and vegetables can prolong life by CBS North Carolina

As you can see they speak American English in both these news reports and they talk about the same research paper.

Now, here's another video addressing the same research paper but "This Morning" is a British channel and they apparently speak British English. And I notice they keep saying "fruit and veggies" never "fruits":

(3) Do We Really Need to Eat 10 Portions of Fruit and Veg a Day? by This Morning

Now what?

  • 1
    Speaking as a Brit, I have never heard "Eat more fruits and vegetables." – Mick Dec 14 '17 at 7:04
  • I disagree that “eat more fruits” does not denote different kinds of fruit. – user067531 Dec 14 '17 at 7:44
  • I don't think that my answer says "to use the singular fruit in general and use the plural fruits only to describe 'different varieties/kinds of fruit'." In the section I titled “fruit” as conventional count noun, with countable plural “fruits” or “fruit”, I said that the non-count usage feels more natural to me, but evidently some people use "fruits" or "fruit" as count plurals with the meaning "pieces of fruit". – sumelic Dec 18 '17 at 4:53
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    I'm in the US, and "Eat more fruits and vegetables" sounds wrong to me. However, I just did some googling and found both phrases. – aparente001 Dec 24 '17 at 4:54
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    @JK2 There is nothing wrong at all with Indian English but there are some differences. The New South Wales author has used standard English. – Lambie Dec 25 '17 at 16:17
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I'm British, and if I ate 3 grapes instead of one apple I'd be eating more fruits but less fruit.

On supermarket packaging a bag of apples sold by number is likely to say 6 fruit without an s (or x6), but this is about the only place you do occasionally see fruits. Using fruits to mean types of fruit is essentially unknown here. What's more common in this sort of advice is to use a word like variety or different in a second sentence.

  • 1
    Do you mean 6 fruit or 6 fruits in your supermarket example? – JK2 Dec 14 '17 at 7:48
  • @JK2 it's more likely to be fruit (no s). It's occasionally fruits (with an s). I tried to keep the sentence compact, maybe too compact. – Chris H Dec 14 '17 at 8:01
  • @JK2 I thought I'd check abag of apples I have here in work. Alas it just say "x6". – Chris H Dec 14 '17 at 10:22
  • I don't get the analogy, how does eating 3 grapes be eating more "fruits"? You're eating the same fruit, and grape is countable, you'd be eating more grapes not less fruit in general. – Mari-Lou A Dec 20 '17 at 9:16
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    @hippietrail my regular supermarket uses something like "quantity: 6" in the overprinted panel with the best before date etc., but I'll keep my eye out for an example – Chris H Mar 5 '18 at 6:48

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