Which one of the following is correct?

  1. fruits and vegetables
  2. fruit and vegetables

Could you please explain it to me?


1 Answer 1


From the Wikipedia page on "mass nouns"...

- the word "fruit" is (usually) non-count, whereas "vegetables" is a plural count form.

What this means is that for many (particularly, older and/or British) speakers, explicitly pluralising the word in contexts such as "I'm a strict vegetarian - I only eat fruits and vegetables" sounds a bit "odd".

But over recent decades, particularly in America, the "regular" plural has become much more common...

enter image description here

I don't think there's really any difference between fruit and fruits when combined with ...and vegetables as part of the "collective" expression. Being an older Brit myself, I must admit fruits makes me think more of individual pieces of fruit, but that's just because I don't hear the collocation so often as Americans.

It's also interesting to note another point made in that Wikipedia link. In BrE (but not so much in AmE), the informal/slang term veg has been widely adopted as the "non-count" version of vegetables. And whereas fruits and vegetables sounds "a bit odd" to me, fruits and veg (which sometimes turns up in AmE usage) sounds positively weird.

  • 4
    +1. To me, fruits makes me think of different varieties of fruit; that is, I'd say "Eat your fruit and vegetables!" but "We have a wide selection of fruits and vegetables here today."
    – WendiKidd
    Oct 6, 2013 at 22:04
  • 1
    @WendiKidd: Well, I suppose by implication so do I. After all, if there was only one kind of each I'd be encouraging my kids to eat their asparagus and strawberries (or whatever it was). But being a Brit I can say my apple tree is bearing a lot of fruit this year. Are you more likely to say yours is bearing many fruits? Or does it not work like that for you because they're all apples? Oct 6, 2013 at 23:10
  • 1
    ... I think I've got it now. Fruits works like peoples. Oct 6, 2013 at 23:12
  • 2
    Yes, exactly! Peoples is a great comparison. And I'd use fruit for the tree, yeah.
    – WendiKidd
    Oct 6, 2013 at 23:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .