Language, as a concept, really presents itself as a mystery. The way that it is intertwined with culture and provides a record of the flow of time, combined with the fact that words can be traced back millennia to languages no longer spoken really make language an interesting topic. Learning a new language can be a great way to make yourself more relatable and marketable in a constantly diverse world. However, learning a language can also be extremely daunting due to the fact that not only do you need to learn that language’s vocabulary and sentence structure, you also have to tackle its grammatical concepts.
English grammar is part of what makes English such a difficult language to learn. At the end of the day, it seems like English often grammatically breaks more of its own rules than it follows, leaving irregular forms seeming more normal than the words that actually follow grammatical rules. English lends itself to several common grammar mistakes that beginners and experienced English speakers alike make consistently throughout written and spoken communication.
In this article, let’s explore the singular noun “fruit,” learn its proper use, how to create its plural forms, look for its synonyms, and learn its etymology and context.
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The first step in really understanding a word is to actually learn what a word means. Often, the best method for finding the meaning of a word is to find its dictionary definition. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word fruit is defined as “a product of plant growth (such as grain, vegetables, or cotton),” “the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant,” or “a product of fertilization in a plant with its modified envelopes or appendages.” A secondary definition of the word fruit would be “offspring, product of the womb.” In total, there are ten definitions of the word fruit that are widely accepted, and there are many different kinds of fruit all over the world. In the United States, it is recommended that you get 3-5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
An important note to make is that language is driven by culture, not the other way around, and as such, the dictionary can never be the definitive authority on all things. Often, groups of people create words and then use them so often that they create new meanings; words that are not considered valid or correct often do become correct. The word fruit, for example, is often misused to describe plants that are types of fruit, and sometimes the part of a plant that is considered a fruit (tomatoes, for example) is classified as a vegetable. At the end of the day, what matters is your audience; picking the right words to communicate effectively to them is more important than what the dictionary says.
The noun fruit can be both a countable noun and an uncountable noun; it can represent a specific number of fruits (seven apples) or a wide variety of fruits, such as in a fruit salad or on a farm.
Do You Like Fruit or Fruits?
The thing that makes the English language so difficult to learn is the fact that it so often breaks its own rules. For example, in creating the past tense of verbs, you typically add “-d” or “-ed” to create the past tense. However, several words actually break this rule and create their own irregular past tenses. For example, the verb “to run” does not add a suffix; instead, it completely changes its spelling.
This is the case with nouns very often as well. While most nouns just add “-s” or “-es” to create a plural form, the plural of some nouns is irregular and involves changing spellings.
However, the word fruit is actually not an irregular noun; the plural form of fruit just involves adding an “-s” suffix onto the end of the existing word. The plural of fruit is simply fruits. However, in its uncountable form, you would use the singular form as the plural, e.g., a wide variety of fruit.
The History and Origin of the Word
One of the best ways to understand a word is to learn where it came from. A word’s etymology can reveal a lot about the changes a word has gone through to get to where it is today in modern English. According to EtymOnline.com, the word fruit was first used in the late twelfth century in English to describe “any vegetable product useful to humans or animals.” The word fruit derived from the Old French word “fruit,” which originally meant fruit eaten as a dessert, which in turn stemmed from the Latin fructus, which is translated “an enjoyment, delight, or satisfaction.”
It should be no surprise that the word has Latin roots, as the majority of nouns in English actually derive from Latin somewhere along their history.
Examples of the Word in Context
Another great way to learn how to use a word is to explore the word being used correctly. Either reading the word in its proper context or hearing someone else use it in conversation. Here are some common example sentences of the word fruit in context:
“Are you going to bring a fruit salad to the picnic this weekend? Those are always quite popular when you do.”
“He grows exclusively fruit trees, namely peach, apple, and citrus fruits, depending on what is in season at any given point in the year.”
“Make a list of what your favorite fruits are! Mine are papaya, passion fruit, and kiwi fruit.”
Synonyms for Fruit
Finally, to really solidify a word into your vocabulary, it is useful to explore words with similar or same definitions. The more words you know that can fit into a specific context, the easier it will be to remember which ones to use. Here are some synonyms from the thesaurus for the word fruit:
Produce, a word that describes general fruits and vegetables usually in a grocery store
Vegetable, a word that describes any growing plant that produces any sort of yield
Kevin Miller is a growth marketer with an extensive background in Search Engine Optimization, paid acquisition and email marketing. He is also an online editor and writer based out of Los Angeles, CA. He studied at Georgetown University, worked at Google and became infatuated with English Grammar and for years has been diving into the language, demystifying the do's and don'ts for all who share the same passion! He can be found online here.