It's amazing how much learning another language teaches you about your native one as well... My first thought was that fruit is simply fruit... until I started reading comments and the complaints about plural fruit. Then the more I read and thought about it, English has several food items that work like this: fish, meat, fruit, cereal. Basically any word that refers to both an item that you eat multiple pieces of and is a category of food.
Great catch, VickiWonder! A partial explanation for this in English is the concept of "countable nouns" (1 chicken, 2 cows, 3 piggies) vs "mass nouns" (some chicken, some beef, some pork).
Plurals (typically or always, depending on how you think about them and how strongly you feel about it) only work on countable nouns.
I got the spider question and I totally freaked out I was like:OMG I HATE SPIDERS!!!!!!!
Does the clear pluralisation of the egg part of the list at the end, imply that everything else in the list before it is also plural? If so is this just the way that this sentence reads or is it a general rule for lists?
- "Obst" does already mean "fruit" in the plural sense.
- "Gemüse" can be both plural or singular but it would need an article in singular, so here it clearly is plural
So, yes they are plural but not for the reason you suspected.
"Das Obst" is a singular term (look at the article) it has no plural even though it used like one in everyday speech.
It is a mass noun like butter, blood, wine or water, for example. A part of water is still water but a part of a table isn't a table (as a whole). The same goes for the term "Obst". A piece of "Obst" is still "Obst".
Most mass nouns don't have a plural form but in case they have those don't refer to the mass noun itself but to the brand. Take " der Wein" (wine), for example. A part of the wine you have in your glass is still wine, right? Right. But "Wein" has a plural called "die Weine". That is because in the case of "Wein" the plural doesn't refer to the general term of wine but to different brands. So if you say "die Weine" you mean different brands like white wine, red wine, Riesling etc.
Mass nouns also aren't countable. You can't say one "Obst" or fifty "Obst". If you want to make it countable you need a word to help with that: "Ein Stück Obst" (one piece of fruit) or "fünfzig Stück Obst" (fifty pieces of fruit).
"Das Gemüse" is similar to "Obst", it has a plural (die Gemüse) though, which I never heard used by anyone btw. People use "Gemüse" the same way they use "Obst" in everyday speech. I'm unsure if it is actually a mass noun. I even looked it up but couldn't find anything specific. I think it is if you want an opinon.
What if I want to express two (or more than two types) of fruits? Assume I am at fruit shop. I seperate out 2 mangoes, 3 bananas. Then I tell the vendor (by pointing at seperated fruits) "I want to buy these fruits." How do I say this in German?
Ich moechte dieses Obst kaufen. Obst is a mass noun. What would you say if you had three jugs of milk on the counter and wanted to buy them? I want to buy these milks?
CreativityBrain asked a legit question. You are forgetting that we DO make a distinction in English and use the word "fruits" for different types of fruit, so it is not always a collective noun. Your example of milk is not parallel, as it is all the same kind of thing. However, if you had cow milk, soy milk, and almond milk, there could be a valid argument that "milks" could be used.
You can say "die Früchte". Obst is the collective form of fruit, but Frucht is an individual piece.
We do not usually emphasize the "O" and the "bs(t)" in "Obst, in this way. If anything, rather the "O" than the "bs(t)".
How can I decide in this sentence, whether Gemüse refers to singular or plural form of vegetable?
From context, mostly. "Das Gemüse' can refer to a single vegetable or to vegetables collectively. 'Ein Gemüse' means 'a vegetable', so it would be singular.
Yes, KatTancock. You're absolutely right.
In India I've rarely heard "fruit" used as a plural - it's almost always "fruits". And it's not necessarily while talking about different species / varieties.
"I've bought fruits from the supermarket" - could mean multiple quantities of the same fruit, or different species / varieties.
Either way, both obst and früchte would be wrong since you forgot to capitalise them.
I think 'Gemüse' is 'vegetables' but 'ein Gemüse' is 'a vegetable'. I am sure native speakers will correct me if I am wrong.
I wrote "Fruit, vegetables, egg". I got flagged for wrong because I should have written "eggs". AFAIK Eier is both singular and plural. Now I am mad.
Where did you get that one from? Well, in this course I've had tones of the egg - das Ei translations.
Gemuse is 'vegetable' and 'vegetables'? Or is there something else for a singular version of vegetables?
Gemuese can refer to a singular vegetable or a group of vegetables. It's a mass noun, like Obst or Zucker.
I could not hear anything. The German sentence was not there - even with my volume turned all the way up.
I wish there was 'und' before Eier. My sound was not great even on slow and for a moment I thought there was a verb in there.
That's a bit misleading. There is no plural. "Obst" is a mass noun like butter.
^^That's what I meant. Blame the late hour (3:30am) for me not as clear as I should be. ;p Yeah, there is no plural for Obst.
I think of it like how in English we say fish for plural and singular, but if you're taking about various fish it's fishes
In the nominative and accusative cases, yes. In the adaptive it's Der and in the generative it's den.
All plural forms have die, "die" Bücher as well. Unless you use ein eine (a, an) then similarly to English there is no plural form hence Bücher without an article but as mentioned this works for any other word in plural form. Correct me if I am wrong.