1

Let's say you are asked by your teacher what is your favorite fruit, then you say:

"my favorite fruit is grape/grapes"

Which one is correct in terms of the general selection according to what I have just written here? Because I have just seen a website which he/she exemplified "my favorite fruits are grapes" this confuses me a bit now.

3

The easiest way to answer your teacher (and eliminate your quandary) is to simply say:

Grapes are my favorite fruit.

However, that's merely a way to dodge your question, not confront it head-on. What should we do when we start our answer with:

My favorite fruit...

First, let's pick a different fruit. One way to construct the sentence is to use an article:

My favorite fruit is the nectarine.
My favorite fruit is a plum.

Alternatively, we could use no article, but then we need to decide what to do with the verb. As a discussion on Quora says:

As “fruit” is both a countable and uncountable noun, it can be singular or plural. So while it is a choice between “My favorite fruit is apples,” or “My favorite fruit is apple,” the only correct choice is “My favorite fruit is apples” because you would need some kind of determiner such as a number or article to precede the singular object.

This is made even trickier by the fact that we seldom refer to a grape in the singular but usually talk about grapes in the plural.

So, if I had to start with, "My favorite...," I would probably say:

My favorite fruit is grapes.

It's not ungrammatical, although it might sound ungrammatical because grapes sounds like a plural noun, right next to the singular is.

Evidently, this construct has vexed others before. (See this or this conversation on Word Reference, or this poll on UE, for example.)

Perhaps comedian Demetri Martin said it best:

My favorite fruit is grapes. Because with grapes, you always get another chance.

  • 1
    I got what you're saying here, thx. It seems this is a very complex question I say, right? The answers provided here are not grammar book based, because, I think, there hasn't specific rule especially on this one yet, rather 'polls', personal preference, experience wise are the main answers here. Still a very horrible answer to avoid, especially me, which I might get wronged if a native who may have a menial experience about this particularly. My oh my... – John Arvin Mar 27 '18 at 8:26
-1

In everyday English (not biology, botany or Biblical contexts), the word fruit is never plural.

And, if you are talking about your favorite fruit, you would say or write:

My favorite fruit is grapes or bananas. Fruit is singular grammatically even if the meaning is plural, as in:

I love tropical fruit like pineapples, bananas and mangoes.

Have a fruitful day! :)

  • 4
    “Never” is a strong word. Some counterexamples: The American Heart Association urges people to eat more fruits and vegetables. And I don’t think this article’s headline – 8 fruits you should be eating – would sound right with the singular form. Fruit is a tricky word, and I don’t think this answer – as worded – gives the most accurate guidance to learners. – J.R. Mar 25 '18 at 1:46
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    One more interesting counterexample: Open from 8 am to 1 pm daily, the market has plenty of fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, flowers, pastries and more. While the word fruit in the singular form could work in that sentence, I think the plural form works better, given that every other word in the list is pluralized. Interesting Ngram. “My favorite fruits are grapes and bananas” is also grammatical. – J.R. Mar 25 '18 at 1:49
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    I read your answer plenty carefully. And the links I’ve provided do not point to “junk playground” sites. This article provides an interesting take – the word “fruit” is used nine times, while the word “fruits” is used only once, showing that “fruit” is indeed used much more often than not, but “never” is still too strong a word for an ELL answer to be accurate. – J.R. Mar 25 '18 at 21:00
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    If we consult a corpus of spontaneous spoken English conversation such as the Fisher English corpus, we find that both fruit and fruits are common, although fruit is slightly more common. I found 179 results for fruit and 111 results for fruits in Fisher. The claim that the plural is not used in everyday conversation appears to be simply false. – snailcar Mar 26 '18 at 0:39
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    Americans are nibbling more whole fruits, nuts and seeds. Throw in vegetables and fruits from salsa and you have a healthy balanced diet. As its name suggests, it [fructose] is found mainly in fruits. Export of fruits and nuts provided about 40% of the country's foreign exchange. The cranberry is one of only three fruits native to North America. A panda goes into a bar, eats shoots and leaves. Nothing remarkable about that nowadays, since half the bars in the world seem to be making drinks out of shoots, leaves, roots, herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables and insects. (from The Economist) – J.R. Mar 27 '18 at 17:16

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