In English, when we say

Birds don't eat durians.


Birds don't eat durian.


Birds don't eat a durian.


Birds don't eat any durians.


Birds don't eat any durian.

Which sentence is the most correct one?

  • What is the plural form of "durian? Is the plural form like orange(s) or grapefruit (no s)?
    – user3169
    Mar 19, 2016 at 2:25
  • Also could you edit your question with the difference point that you are focusing on? You should not include wording like "preferred or sounds better" which asks for subjective and opinion-based answers, which are off-topic here.
    – user3169
    Mar 19, 2016 at 2:29
  • @user3169 I edited the question for avoiding opinion-based answers as you advised.
    – Ook
    Mar 19, 2016 at 3:19

2 Answers 2


The subject ("bird"), the specific verb (here, eat) and the noun (here, durian) together determine what is idiomatic. If we change subject to "shopkeeper" and the verb to "have" the answer could be different. If we change the noun to "rice" the answer could be different.

Durians are fruit, but the word is not in the general vocabulary of most Americans, to be sure. Let's change it to "blueberry".

If the desired meaning is the general rule "are not part of the diet of" then this is the idiomatic form:

Birds don't eat blueberries.

Blueberries are not part of the diet of birds.

If you want to state a corollary of that general rule, or to imply a general rule:

A bird won't eat a blueberry.

A typical average American who wanted to say that birds don't eat blueberries of any kind would be likely to avoid the post-positional "of any kind" and say instead

Birds don't eat any blueberries.

Without context to resolve the nuance, don't eat any blueberries could be intended to mean "eat no blueberries" (i.e. do not eat blueberries) or it could be intended to mean "eat no species of blueberry".

P.S. Birds do eat blueberries.


When you use 'eat' in such a sentence, the subject is plural. "Birds don't eat durians" makes the most sense. "Birds don't eat any durians" will also work, but it sounds a bit wonky.

  • Any durians? Any may be followed by plural noun? May I say "Do you have any durians"?
    – Student
    Mar 19, 2016 at 2:51

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