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I've been confused by the usage of the plural form of fruit - fruits. Most British books and some American books I have consulted, state that "fruit" is the correct pl. version of fruit. They also mention that "fruits" can be used as in "fruits of the forest". However, Brits seem to say "I eat a lot of fruit" while many Yanks us "fruits" in this sentance. At present I live in the US. and I'm puzzled by how people use both forms. In American grocery stores the sign in the produce section often says "fruits and vegetables". Would this form be used in GB? The word "fruits" is used on vitamin labels eg. made from fresh fruits. Yet, when I asked a few Americans, they said that "fruit" is the proper form and would use a sentance "I like fruit" or "There's some fruit on the table". Could someone please clarify it for me. I would really appreciate if I was given an answer by speakers of American and British English. Due to the interferance of my native language (Polish) I'm inclined to use "fruits", so I would like to know if using American I can get away with it a bit more then in English or are the rules the same. Thanks
P.S. I have the same question abot the usuage of the plural "fishes", when can it be used outside of counting "fishes" in "The Sesame Street".
New Member02
1 comment I wish there was an easy rule for explaining this. Some people say that the -s plural forms are used when talking about different kinds of fish and fruit, as in:

The store sells many different kinds of fruits.
There are ten species of fishes in the aquarium.

However, this isn't valid advice since it is just as correct to say:

The store sells many different kinds of fruit.
There are ten species of fish in the aquarium.

The sign "fruit and vegetables" is less common than "fruits and vegetables" not for any grammatical reason, but because the -s on the end of "vegetable" seems to be crying out for a companion at the end of "fruit".

My personal recommendation -- and other people may disagree with me on this -- is that you stick to "fruit" and "fish". In my observation, these are more commonly-used than "fruits" and "fishes".
Full Member287
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
Thank You for your response. It helped a bit but I still would like to know what is considered correct on tests (because in spoken English one can get away with a lot ). I see "fruits" used on many labels meaning different kind of fruit, yet most natives say "I like fruit" but that also means different kind.
Both plural forms (with and without -s) would be correct on tests.

My personal advice is to always use "fish".

As for fruit, I have thought of one situation in which "fruits" is better:

There are 3 apples and 4 bananas on table.
There are 7 fruits on the table.

That is, if you have a number right before it, say "fruits".

Someone else may be able to give you a more thorough answer on this subject.
Proficient Speaker: Users in this role are known to maintain an excellent grasp of the English language. You can only be promoted to this role by the Englishforums team.
Anonymous:
There are 3 apples and 4 bananas on table.
There are 7 fruits on the table.

That is, if you have a number right before it, say "fruits".


I would say, actually, that fruit is a noncount noun in this situation, and that you should say, "There are seven pieces of fruit on the table." If there were 7 different kinds of fruit of the table, then you might get away with 7 fruits.
Anonymous:
How about if you use it with the word assorted like assorted fresh fruits? Is it assorted fresh fruit?
Anonymous:
As a language arts minor I would have to say that these are words that are singular and plural at the same time. With these types of words the adjective determines if it is plural or singular. For example I have A fish OR I have SEVEN fish. I have A fruit OR I have SOME fruit. If you said "I have fruit" this would be interpreted as you have more than one fruit. Fruits is not grammatically correct in written or spoken English but it has become accepted in some circumstances. Fishes is rarely used and using fish will be correct every time. For example (excuse the morbidity) "I'm going to feed you to the fishes." Meaning more than one type of fish. It would be just as correct to say "I'm going to feed you to the fish." However in this example it appears as if you are talking about one specific fish. So I would use fishes when using 'the' before it and you are speaking about more than one fish. Hope this makes sense.
It is a fact that English sometimes plunges us into so much confusion and trouble unnecessarily. Why two plurals for one word? Much commoner plurals of fish and fruit are fish and fruit. The British use fruit and vegetables according to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.

O.Abootty
Junior Member97
Anonymous:
I've never really thought about fruit versus fruits, but the rule may be the same as fish versus fishes.

If you catch three fish of the same type ( as trout), you have caught three fish. If, however, you catch different species ( as one bass and two trout), you have caught three fishes.
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