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fruit is/are

 
 
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:38 pm
Some of the fruit in the bowl is/are rotten.

Which is the correct verb,is or are? I think 'are', but I'm confused by the word 'fruit', which looks like a singular noun but is plural.

Many thanks.



 
mac11
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 08:41 pm
@tanguatlay,
The verb should agree with the word "some." So the correct answer is "are."

If only one apple were rotten, you'd say "one of the apples is rotten." "Some" implies more than one.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 09:22 pm
@tanguatlay,
What's with this,

"View best answer, chosen by community"?

What "community"? Only Mac had replied.

Sorry Mac, but I find that I have to disagree with you. In English, 'fruit' is almost always dealt with as a singular? Why this is so, I haven't the foggiest but it is.

Some of the fruit in the bowl is rotten.

If you specify "fruits" with an 's', the 'are' is a possibility.

Some of the fruits in the bowl are rotten.
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 09:25 pm
@JTT,
JTT wrote:

In English, 'fruit' is almost always dealt with as a singular? Why this is so, I haven't the foggiest but it is.


Fruit is plural.

Fruits is used when you need to emphasize that there are different kinds of fruit.

For other examples see: fish, people.

There are many people here. = many individuals
There are many peoples here. = different ethnic groups for example, different groups of people.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Thu 21 Aug, 2008 09:38 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Good evening, Robert. I didn't comment on whether 'fruit' is notionally plural or not. I mentioned that it is "dealt with" as a singular. It is dealt with in the same fashion as a mass noun, like 'spaghetti'.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:08 am
@JTT,
The subject of the verb isn't "fruit." It's "some," which is plural.
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 10:12 am
@Roberta,
Quote:
The subject of the verb isn't "fruit." It's "some," which is plural.


Does "Some of the fruit are rotten", sound idiomatic to you, Roberta?

When looking at a bowl of fruit, does it sound idiomatic to say, "The fruit are rotten"?
contrex
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 10:20 am
@JTT,
My boat is made of timber. Unfortunately I cannot sail it as some of the wood is rotten. The word "fruit" in the original question is non countable. It is not a plural. Some of the fruit is rotten. Or to be more exact, some of the pieces of fruit, namely three apples and a pear, are rotten.

JTT
 
  3  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 10:25 am
@contrex,
I wonder why that is, Contrex, that we should use 'fruit' in a seemingly uncountable fashion, like a mass noun and yet we "see" them as notionally plural.

'fruit' is different than other mass nouns. It's really no different than the noun 'vegetable' yet we would never say,

"Some of the vegetable is rotten" to carry the meaning that some individual pieces in a bowl are rotten.
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 11:12 am
"Some" makes it plural.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 11:51 am
@JTT,
A quick guess on my part is that it was originally used with a greater emphasis on the "product" meaning as in "by their fruit we shall know them".
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:24 pm
@JTT,
I know what you mean, JTT, although I don't always "see" fruit as notionally plural. In fact I hardly ever do. Fruit considered generically is a non-countable noun. Individual named items may be plural. There is a bowl on the table. It contains fruit, which looks nice. Fruit is an important part of a healthy diet. So are vegetables. The cat knocks over the bowl. The fruit is scattered everywhere. Some is on the table, some is on the floor. Two oranges are on a chair, and some grapes have rolled behind the TV.

JTT
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:25 pm
@cicerone imposter,
Quote:
"Some" makes it plural.


While it certainly is notionally plural, CI, it just isn't idiomatic to use 'are'.

?? Some of the fruit are rotten. ??
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:26 pm
@contrex,
I stand corrected. Embarrassed

My brain isn't fully operational. Shoulda not said anything.
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:29 pm
@JTT,
"Some" can mean "a number of" (a plurality of objects), it can also mean "a part of" (an entity). Some of my hair is grey. Some of my garden is shady. Some of the meat in my freezer is beef.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:31 pm
@Roberta,
Roberta wrote:
Shoulda not said anything.


But if you had not, we would not have had this interesting discussion.
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:33 pm
@contrex,
Quote:
... although I don't always "see" fruit as notionally plural.


Maybe, for this particular case, "notionally plural" is a poor choice of words, Contrex. What I am trying to get at is that though we treat 'fruit' like a mass noun in a grammatical sense we don't view like, say, spaghetti. We see a group of different fruits as individual fruits, meant to be eaten in an individual fashion.

Funny that vegetables, eaten more as mass foods, is dealt with, grammatically, as individual items.

"That's nice fruit"

versus

??"That's nice vegetables"??
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 12:38 pm
@contrex,
Quote:
But if you had not, we would not have had this interesting discussion.


I agree with Contrex, Roberta. No shame in adding comments on difficult topics.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 01:10 pm
@JTT,
Jeanette Winterson, a British author, wrote an acclaimed semi-autobiographical novel called "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit".

0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  2  
Reply Fri 22 Aug, 2008 04:09 pm
Some parts of the fruit is rotten. Some of the fruit in the bowl are rotten.

Some in the bowl would assume plural. We also use "he," when we're not sure of the gender.
 

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