I can't understand if "banana" or "a banana" has the same meaning. I can understand that "the" and "a" are for definite and indefinite nouns. But what about those which aren't preceded by either of them?

  • Definite and indefinite articles, not nouns
    – Lucky
    Apr 23 '15 at 9:13

The phrases definitely have different meanings.

I have eaten a banana.

I have eaten one single banana.

I have eaten banana.

I have eaten something that contained some amount of banana.

Additionally, if you said these to me I would interpret the first one as having been recently while the second one would be at a further point in the past. Like explaining that you have eaten banana before and are familiar with bananas. But that's all implication based on experience and isn't supported by definitions.

  • And I'd question the second, except in rare circumstances. Banana (singular) without an article, used as an object, is rather odd. The problem is that bananas are both small and discrete. If you've eaten something that contained some banana, you'd likely say something like "I've eaten something with banana in it." or "I've had/tried banana-flavored X". Apr 13 '15 at 19:42
  • @WhatRoughBeast - I agree with you, but it's worth noting that this interpretation is the natural way to say it for some foods. Consider: I have eaten a fish vs. I have eaten fish, or I have eaten a hamburger vs. I have eaten hamburger.
    – J.R.
    Apr 15 '15 at 9:57
  • Agreed. And I was going to reply that the difference is that "bananas are both small and discrete", but then I realized that fish are, also. Well, many fish are. So I'm not sure why (other than the vicissitudes of the language) it's not correct for banana. Apr 16 '15 at 21:11
  • @WhatRoughBeast I suspect that it sounds odd because of the commonness of eating bananas. I honestly think that it sounds a bit odd for fish in general, though not at all incorrect. Something like, "I have eaten <potentially unusual food>." would fit better, to my ear. Goat, sea urchin, raccoon, etc... Feb 5 '16 at 23:43
  • The part beginning Additionally... has nothing to do with using the article or not. What you say could equally apply to a banana. This paragraph should be deleted because it is giving the the OP incorrect information.
    – GoDucks
    Feb 6 '16 at 15:57

"banana" is a countable fruit. You say one/a banana, two bananas. And that's what you use in a sentence like I have eaten a banana/ two bananas. I have eaten banana sounds queer.


You should say 'I have ate a banana' or 'I have eaten banana'. Proper use is that you have ate a banana recently (first case). Second case means you have ate banana sometime in your life. I have eaten a banana is not proper usage unless someone asks you if you have ever ate a banana. This answer would be formal i.e. Yes, I have eaten a banana or yes, I have eaten banana. Eat is the present simple.

Ate is the past simple.

Eaten is the past participle.

  • 1
    "I have ate a banana" is grammatically incorrect. (What tense is that?) Feb 5 '16 at 22:39

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