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I simply want to ask my colleague that do you know cabbage? a green leafy vegetable. So what I should say Do you know cabbage? or Do you know cabbages?

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  • Welcome to ELL.SE. It is not entirely clear what you are asking; know has a number of different uses, and someone who is said to "know" cabbage is an expert in cabbage. Please edit the post to explain in other words the kind of knowledge you are inquiring about. – choster Jul 23 '19 at 21:37
  • know means means not in detail. Means Do you aware that there is on green leafy vegetable called cabbage. so which one correct Do you know cabbage? or Do you know cabbages? – Dimpy Thakur Jul 23 '19 at 21:46
  • @DimpyThakur Based on that description I think you might want to say "Do you know what cabbages are?" – OKUMA Jul 23 '19 at 22:19
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    @DimpyThakur Please edit that information into your original post, rather than placing it in a comment, as comments are ephemeral/temporary. – choster Jul 23 '19 at 22:23
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"Do you know cabbage?" and "Do you know cabbages?" are both grammatically correct, for reasons that I will explain, and both mean the same thing. But neither of these sentences mean what you want them to mean.

The sentence "Do you know ____?" is generally used for people ("Do you know my friend Jim?") and facts or fields of study ("Do you know calculus?"). So the sentence "Do you know cabbage?" makes it sound like "cabbage" is a field of study. It is almost like asking "Do you have a lot of knowledge about cabbages?" or "Are you an expert on cabbages?" This question from the English Language and Usage Stack Exchange gives more details.

So if you asked your friend "Do you know cabbage?", then your friend could reply, "No, not very well." or "Yes, I grew up on a cabbage farm." or "What is cabbage?"

This is not exactly what you want to know. If I understand you correctly, you only want to know if your friend has the most basic knowledge about cabbages. So it would be better to ask:

Do you know about ____?

or

Do you know what ____ are?

or

Do you know what a ____ is?

or

Are you familiar with ____?

or

Have you heard of ____?


Now that we have the right questions, let's fill in the blanks.

For most nouns, you would always use the singular form for the third sentence and the plural form for all the other sentences.

Do you know about computers?

Do you know what computers are?

Do you know what a computer is?

Are you familiar with computers?

Have you heard of computers?

But "cabbage" is a special case. It is more flexible than most nouns. All of the following sentences are correct:

Do you know about cabbages?

Do you know about cabbage?

Do you know what cabbages are?

Do you know what a cabbage is?

Do you know what cabbage is?

Are you familiar with cabbages?

Are you familiar with cabbage?

Have you heard of cabbages?

Have you heard of cabbage?

"Cabbage" has more possible sentences than "computer" because the singular form "cabbage" can be used as either a countable noun or an uncountable noun.

If I said to you, "I have a cabbage" or "I have a lot of cabbages", that means I am talking about heads of cabbage. I am using the word "cabbage" as a countable noun, like "apple" or "computer". There is no unit of measure needed. One cabbage is one cabbage.

If I said instead, "I have some cabbage" or "I have a lot of cabbage", then the meaning of the word "cabbage" is slightly different. Perhaps I have a bag full of cabbage leaves, or a bowl full of shredded cabbages. I am using the word "cabbage" as an uncountable noun, like "bread" or "music". It is a raw material that must be divided into units (cups, bowls, bags, etc.) before it can be counted.

So, for example, if you asked me, "Do you know about cabbage?", I would hear "cabbage" as an uncountable noun, because that makes the sentence grammatically correct. This is why there are more correct sentences for "cabbage" than for "computer".

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  • I want to ask my friend that Do you know that there is one green leafy vegetable item called cabbage? so can I ask in this fashion Do you know cabbage? means Do you know cabbage vegetable item ? in this context is it correct to ask Do you know cabbage? – Dimpy Thakur Jul 24 '19 at 3:13
  • @DimpyThakur This comment seems no different than the question itself. And this answer goes into a lot of good detail in answering it. The short answer is, no. You should not ask do you know cabbage? – Jason Bassford Jul 24 '19 at 3:45
  • @DimpyThakur The phrase "Do you know [X]?" is generally used for people ("Do you know my friend Jim?") and facts or fields of study ("Do you know calculus?"). So the phrase "Do you know cabbage?" sounds like "cabbage" is a field of study. Your friend could reply, "No, not very well." or "Yes, I grew up on a cabbage farm." or "What is cabbage?" It is not a bad question, but it is different from the question you want to ask. I will add this information to my answer. – MJ713 Jul 24 '19 at 3:50
  • Again my question is same but I would interpret in another way. I want to ask my friend that Do you know the meaning of English word cabbage ? In this context I would like to ask question to my friend in the fashion that " Do you know cabbage?" – Dimpy Thakur Jul 24 '19 at 13:05
  • @DimpyThakur [This seems like a new question to me; if you want a more general answer to the question "How do I ask my friend if he knows the meaning of an English word?", then you should post a new question. Anyway...] The short answer is: sometimes, but it depends on context. The earlier parts of the conversation must make it clear that you are referring to the word "cabbage" itself, and not the vegetable. In writing you can show this by using quotation marks (Do you know "cabbage"?), but in speech it is more ambiguous. – MJ713 Jul 24 '19 at 15:09

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