I was taught that the noun "fruit" is non-countable in English.

If so, then what would be its countable counterpart? I am sure there should be one because the need for that is quite practical.

Let's say there is one orange, one apple and one pear on the table.

What would be the right word to refer to all three of them in a countable way, that is, in the way of saying "There are three ... on the table"?

It looks to me like saying

"There are three pieces of fruit on the table"

is rather awkward because both the word "orange", and "apple", and "pear" are all countable. Besides, both orange, apple and pear have their distinctive shapes and edges and are very easily distinguished (unlike, say, a piece of cheese, or a pinch of salt, or a smear of dirt).


2 Answers 2


In the context you're using it in, it does not have a single-word countable counterpart. Your example sentence "There are three pieces of fruit on the table" is perfectly idiomatic.

Note that the word fruit is countable in other contexts, e.g. in the phrase the fruits of labor:

The outcome or rewards of one's work or efforts.
You worked hard this semester, and straight A's are the fruits of your labor.
Please, have some fresh strawberries—they're the fruits of my labor in the garden.

(note the last sentence where fruits is used in the figurative sense)


You can certainly say:

There are three fruits on the table.

It's just not as common as pieces of fruit, and might be considered strange by some people. However, despite that, it's syntactically sound.

From Merriam-Webster:

// apples, oranges, and other fruits

It has the same uncommon status as using fishes rather than fish when using a plural for that noun.

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