9
   

Is 'fresh fruit' unaccountable?

 
 
SMickey
 
Reply Wed 18 Mar, 2015 06:46 pm
I ran into this sentence.

What nutrients does fresh fruit give us?

First of all, I'd like to know whether the sentence is error-less.
Given that I saw it from a book published by a trustworthy company,
I doubt there's something wrong with the sentence.

What's so puzzling to me then is the article part.

You can't put 'a' or 'an' in front of a noun if that's unaccountable, can you?
Therefore, expressions such as 'a love, a water or a sky' are generally wrong, if I'm not mistaken.

What about 'fresh fruit'?
Upon seeing 'fresh fruit', a very fresh red apple sprang up to my mind
and I wondered why native speakers consider 'fresh fruit' unaccountable.

There could be 'five fresh oranges' or 'three fresh bananas', couldn't there?
Nevertheless, you can't count 'fresh fruit'?

How about 'nutrients'?
As 's' is attached at the end of 'nutrient',
I have to assume that native speakers think 'nutrient' is something they can count.

I can't help but wonder how they can count 'nutrient'
because something called 'nutrient' is believed to be invisible and intangible,
which leads to the conclusion that we can't count 'nutrient'.
And I'm seeing 'nutrients' now, which is driving me crazy.

Could you please give me any clue which might help me figure that out?

There are many parts discouraging many English-learners from going on,
and I think articles top the list. So dang difficult!
 
View best answer, chosen by SMickey
InfraBlue
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Mar, 2015 10:10 pm
@SMickey,
The sentence is errorless.

You're right about uncountable nouns, generally speaking.

The word "love" can be countable, however. It can refer to a couple's emotional relationship. "A love like ours"

You can speak of the word "sky" figuratively:

"Big Sky Country" Montana has a big sky.

You can also speak of extraterrestrial skies, like Mars'. Mars has a sky.

"Fresh fruit" can be countable. One can say, "here is a fresh fruit," referring to a fresh apple one in holding in one's hand, for example.

"An apple" is countable. It refers to one apple.

There are three tangible and observable energy providing nutrients: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. If I'm speaking about fats, I'm speaking about a nutrient.

The word "nutrition" is uncountable, however, and may be what you're thinking about.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Mar, 2015 06:55 am
@SMickey,
Personally I'd use the word nutrition instead of nutrients. I feel the word choice nutrients is a bit awkward, but not ungrammatical.
0 Replies
 
Lordyaswas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 19 Mar, 2015 06:57 am
And as for fruit being unnaccountable, well that's just wrong.

Say an apple murdered a banana, for instance. Would it be fair that the apple could get away scot free?
Lordyaswas
 
  3  
Reply Thu 19 Mar, 2015 06:58 am
@Lordyaswas,
Or even Irish free, for that matter.
0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Mar, 2015 10:43 pm
@SMickey,
It's possible to have both plural and singular uncountables.

Bacon and eggs is a common breakfast.
They sell fresh fruits and vegetables. The fresh fruits section is over there beside the vegetables section.

knaivete
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Mar, 2015 10:49 pm
@InfraBlue,
Quote:
One can say, "here is a fresh fruit," referring to a fresh apple one in (IS?) holding in one's hand, for example.


If one were a compleat fruit one might say that however one would be deciduously infra dig.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 01:07 am
@FBM,
The fresh fruits section is over there beside the vegetables section.

The fresh fruits are not singular it is the section.
You can use other words instead of fresh fruits.
The smallest section is,
A large section of books is...
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 01:16 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:
They sell fresh fruits and vegetables. The fresh fruits section is over there beside the vegetables section.

In British English we would say "They sell fresh fruit and vegetables. The fresh fruit section is over there beside the vegetable section." Or more probably "the fresh fruit is over there by the vegetables."
Lordyaswas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 01:23 am
@contrex,
Agreed. Although there would probably be an abbreviation or two somewhere along the way.

Fruit and Veg., for instance.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 01:25 am
@knaivete,
knaivete wrote:
deciduously infra dig.

Can things that are not trees be deciduous?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 01:32 am
@contrex,
I suspect Knaivete thinks that was clever.

This:

contrex wrote:
In British English we would say "They sell fresh fruit and vegetables. The fresh fruit section is over there beside the vegetable section." Or more probably "the fresh fruit is over there by the vegetables."


. . . also describes North American usage, in my experience.
0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 02:30 am
@SMickey,
SMickey wrote:
How about 'nutrients'?
As 's' is attached at the end of 'nutrient',
I have to assume that native speakers think 'nutrient' is something they can count.

I can't help but wonder how they can count 'nutrient'
because something called 'nutrient' is believed to be invisible and intangible,
which leads to the conclusion that we can't count 'nutrient'.
And I'm seeing 'nutrients' now, which is driving me crazy.


Nutrients are neither intangible nor invisible.
layman
  Selected Answer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 03:28 am
@FBM,
Quote:
It's possible to have both plural and singular...


Yes, and part of the confusion may arise from the fact that the term "fruit," like "vegetable," can referred to as either singular or plural, depending on context. In one sense, each is a class or category of edible items, and there is only one such class.

But, like any class, both (fruit and vegetable) are composed of different members which can be treated individually, and collectively, those can be plural.

So you could, without changing the meaning, also ask: "What nutrients do fresh fruits give us?" Here the emphasis is put on the members of the class, rather than the class itself, but the meaning is the same.
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 04:10 am
@saab,
saab wrote:

The fresh fruits section is over there beside the vegetables section.

The fresh fruits are not singular it is the section.
You can use other words instead of fresh fruits.
The smallest section is,
A large section of books is...


Good point. The phrase "fresh fruits" began to function as an adjective before the noun "section." Bad example.

0 Replies
 
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 04:15 am
@contrex,
contrex wrote:

FBM wrote:
They sell fresh fruits and vegetables. The fresh fruits section is over there beside the vegetables section.

In British English we would say "They sell fresh fruit and vegetables. The fresh fruit section is over there beside the vegetable section." Or more probably "the fresh fruit is over there by the vegetables."



By Thor, I had me a quick gander around teh interweebs and found it expressed both ways in the US. Regional variations, I guess.
FBM
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 04:18 am
@layman,
layman wrote:

Quote:
It's possible to have both plural and singular...


...

So you could, without changing the meaning, also ask: "What nutrients do fresh fruits give us?" Here the emphasis is put on the members of the class, rather than the class itself, but the meaning is the same.


Huh. When I read that, I get the feeling that it's asking about the whole class, rather than any particular members. Sometimes it's a wonder to me that we native speakers can even communicate effectively.
layman
 
  0  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 04:24 am
@FBM,
Quote:
Huh. When I read that, I get the feeling that it's asking about the whole class, rather than any particular members. Sometimes it's a wonder to me that we native speakers can even communicate effectively.


Yeah, it is. That was my point. "fruit does" vs. "fruits do" is the only grammatical difference. The end meaning is the same. You can refer to a class as a class (a singular thing) or by referring to its individual members (a plural thing).

But, of course, literally speaking, an apple is not a fruit. It is an apple, which is a type of fruit, but not fruit itself. But in everyday usage that distinction is not often made.
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 06:28 am
@FBM,
FBM wrote:
By Thor, I had me a quick gander around teh interweebs and found it expressed both ways in the US. Regional variations, I guess.

I have noticed that Americans often say "fruits" in situations where British and British Commonwealth speakers would say "fruit".
contrex
 
  3  
Reply Fri 20 Mar, 2015 06:31 am
@layman,
layman wrote:
But, of course, literally speaking, an apple is not a fruit. It is an apple, which is a type of fruit, but not fruit itself. But in everyday usage that distinction is not often made.


An apple is a fruit. An apple (Malus domestica), is (uncountable) fruit of the domesticated tree Malus domestica (family Rosaceae), one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. The apple is a pome (fleshy) (countable) fruit, in which the ripened ovary and surrounding tissue both become fleshy and edible.

 

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