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Let's say I want to know the name of fruits a person likes. Do I have to say fruit or fruits? For example:

What fruit do you like?

What fruits do you like?

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"What kind of fruit do you like".

First this is a rather artificial situation. Consider in you own language. How often do want to know the names of the types of fruit that someone likes. And certainly this is not the first question to ask on meeting someone. Could you imagine going on a date:

Do you have any hobbies?
Yes, I play tennis and enjoy knitting.
Great! And what fruit do you like?
???!!!

No? There would have to some reason for talking about fruit. And even in this context the question probably wouldn't be so direct

Let's get some fruit for dessert. What kind would you like?

However the direct answer to the question is that "fruit" is usually treated as uncountable, and so is used in the singular. If you want to ask for the names of the fruit, then "what kind of fruit" works well, but "what fruit" or even "what fruits" are understandable and clear.

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Google Books Ngram Viewer indicates that what fruit is about twice as common in books as what fruits.

So, while both are correct, the singular form is far more popular. It would be understood to mean what variety of fruit.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=what+fruit%2Cwhat+fruits&year

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  • If you look at the actual Google hits for "what fruit", they include things like what fruit tress grow in Florida? What fruit grows on an apple tree? They packed what fruit they could. I think the plural form is probably more popular when talking about different kinds of fruit. – Peter Shor Sep 28 at 0:56

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