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Thursday March 15, 2007

Some ‘fruit’ and ‘fruits’

I UNDERSTAND that “some fruit” and “some fruits” are both correct. Could you please explain? – Sheila Joseph 

“Some” can be used with both uncountable nouns and plural countable nouns, as in “some bread” and “some chairs”. 

The noun “fruit” can be either countable or uncountable, depending on context. It is usually uncountable when we speak of “fruit” in a non-specific way, for example in the sentence: “We must eat five servings of fruit and vegetables every day.”  

Even when many different kinds are involved, we can still use “fruit” as an uncountable noun, for example when offering a guest a plate with slices of papaya, pineapple and melon, we say: “Have some fruit.” 

When emphasising the different kinds of fruits, we usually use the countable noun, e.g. in the sentence: “I love Malaysian fruits, especially, guavas, mangosteens and papayas.” 

When speaking of only one type of fruit, we can use “fruit” either as an uncountable or a countable noun. Below are some examples from a nursery website in the United Kingdom of how both “fruits” and “fruit” are used to refer to one type of fruit on one tree: 

“Standard Lemon Tree. A vigorous plant to give a plentiful supply of juicy lemons. A lovely standard tree with fruits.” 

“Your very own mango tree. What could be more exotic than that? Red and yellow fruits from June.” 

“Avocado Tree. Dark-green, thick-skinned, pear-shaped fruit has buttery-textured flesh. Great for salads or home-grown Guacamole.” 

'Guess where I am now' 

1) CAN we say “Did it arrive yet?” or should we stick to saying “Has it arrived yet?”? 

2) I always hear Malaysians saying “Guess where am I right now?”. Shouldn’t it be “Guess where I am right now?”

3) What other words can be used to substitute “boss” other than “employer”? – Goh Kim Hin  

1) We should stick to “Has it arrived yet?”  

2) You are right. It should be “Guess where I am right now?”  

This is because this question is the short form for “Can you guess where I am right now?”, in which “where I am right now” is the relative clause in the question and does not need to have its verb come before its subject.  

If “guess” is removed from the question, it should then be written “Where am I right now?”, because “am” is now the main verb of the question and should come before “I”. 

3) “Boss” is an informal term for the person in charge at your workplace. There are other informal terms for “boss”, such as “chief” and “gaffer”.  

More formal terms are more specific, like “manager”, “director”, “supervisor”, “head of department”, “headmaster/headmistress”, etc, depending on where you work. 

“Boss”, however, does not often mean “employer”. Your employer is the person or organisation who pays your salary. So, unless you work under the supervision of the person who pays you, as a house maid or a shop assistant does, your “boss” is different from your “employer”. 

You are welcome 

1) WHEN we say “welcome”, it usually isn’t with a ‘d’ at the back, is it? Like when people say “thank you” and we reply with “you are welcome”. Is there any instance where we have to use “welcomed”?  

In this sentence, do we say, “Those who feel the need to join the training are always welcome.” or “... are always welcomed.”? 

2) Which sentence is correct: 

A pile of clothes are on the floor./ A pile of clothes is on the floor.  

A group of workers are working day and night on the project./ A group of workers is working day and night on the project.  

Three hours are certainly not enough for me to finish this project./ Three hours is certainly not enough for me to finish this project. – Xavier Tee 

1) When “welcome” is used as an adjective, it is always used without ad’ at the end. Thus, you are correct about “you are welcome”. In the sentence you gave, the word is also used without a ‘d’ at the end, since it is an adjective there. Thus, the correct sentence should read: “Those who feel the need to join the training are always welcome.” 

“Welcomed” is the past tense and past participle of the verb “welcome”. An example of the use of “welcomed” is: “The couple welcomed us very warmly when we arrived at their house yesterday.” 

2) “Pile” and “group” are collective nouns. We can use either a singular verb or a plural verb after a collective noun in British English. Usually, if the group the noun refers to is regarded as a single unit, we use a singular verb. But if it is considered as a number of individual things or people, we use a plural verb. Thus, the following are correct:  

a) A pile of clothes is on the floor. (We usually regard such a pile without thinking of the individual clothes.) 

b) A group of workers are working day and night on the project. (They may be working on the same project, but are probably doing different things.) 

As for your last sentence, you are right that it should use a singular verb. When using an amount or quantity (of money, distance, time, etc.) as the subject of a sentence, we use a singular verb, because each amount or quantity is considered as a single unit. “Three hours” is an amount of time; so it is used with a singular verb. Thus, the right sentence is: “Three hours is certainly not enough for me to finish this project.” 

'Shot-put’ pronunciation 

1) WHAT is the correct pronunciation for “shot-put”? Does it rhyme with “put” or “putt”? 

2) Is the usage “full-furnished apartment” acceptable? 

3) What is the equivalent of saying “perasan” in English? – Zexabyte, Seri Kembangan 

1) The “-put” in “shot-put” (an athletic contest using a heavy metal ball called a “shot”) rhymes with “put” rather than “putt”, i.e. the “u” sound is used, not the short “a” sound. “Put” here means “a throw of the shot or weight” (Concise OED). 

It is different from the term used in golf that is usually spelt “putt” but sometimes also “put”, but pronounced with a short “a” sound. The golf “putt” means “a stroke on the green with a putter to roll the ball into or near the hole”. (Collins Concise Dictionary

2) “Fully-furnished” is usually used, but some people do use “full-furnished”. “Full-furnished” is acceptable, but it is better to use “fully-furnished” or even just “furnished” in contrast to “partly-furnished” when describing a house or a flat that is available for rent. 

3) The nearest equivalent I can think of is “vain” or “conceited”, and if you’re telling someone he/she is “perasan”, I suppose you can say “You flatter yourself!”


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