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Thread: Help Please - I don't know the answer to this!

  1. #1
    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Default Help Please - I don't know the answer to this!

    Someone came up and asked me which was correct:

    'There are many kinds of food which .....'

    or

    'There are many kinds of foods which....'

    I know the seceond is correct, but the first one sounds okay too. It seems like either would be correct, but when I change the word food to anything else, like book or drink, the smust be there. Am I crazy? Is only the 2nd one okay?
    Numbers and colors are my bread and butter

  2. #2
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Please - I don't know the answer to this!

    I don't see a problem with "there are many kinds of drink which...". "Meal" works better without the s. "Book" I'd agree needs the s.

    I think there's some sort of collective-noun thing going on here, but my grammar references aren't being overly helpful.

  3. #3
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Please - I don't know the answer to this!

    I think it depends on the content of the remainder of the sentence and the nature of the topic.

    You would use "food" if the topic was in reference to a single or specific meal. For example:

    "There are many kinds of food which can be prepared quickly for large groups of people, like sushi. I recommend sushi for tomorrow's party."

    Because the speaker is referring to a specific meal here, he or she should use "food." If, however, the speaker is referring to a category, then he or she should use "foods." For example:

    "There are many kinds of foods which can damage the teeth, such as sugary foods or acidic foods."

    See? Since you were discussing categories of food, you use "foods."

    Take my advice with a grain of salt here; I'm just talking out my ass. This is the way it seems to make the most sense to me, though.
    Last edited by word; March 4th, 2011 at 12:25.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help Please - I don't know the answer to this!

    I think both can be correct because food can be both a countable and an uncountable noun. So it can be pluralised as 'food' and 'foods' (although there is a different nuance of meaning in each case, I think, so ultimately the question of which sentence is 'correct' boils down to what the speaker is trying to say).

  5. #5

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    I believe Taurus is right. Food is both countable and uncountable. You can say "I like to eat Japanese food" and you don't mean only udon. However you can also use foods in some cases if you want to emphasize that there are distinct groups of food (Japanese, Indian, sweet, spicy, fruits, etc.) within the larger category of ALL FOOD.

    It's the same principle as people/persons/person. Of course the singular is person, and usually the plural is people. But persons can be used to emphasize the individuality of each person in the group. (Nowadays persons also sounds more formal or official). So if you say that "this car seats four people" then all four people are categorized in the same group, while "this car seats four persons" conceptualizes each as an individual unit separate from the others that happen to all be in the same car together. The meaning is pretty much the same but it changes how you think about it.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by kalliea View Post
    Someone came up and asked me which was correct:

    'There are many kinds of food which .....'

    or

    'There are many kinds of foods which....'

    I know the seceond is correct, but the first one sounds okay too. It seems like either would be correct, but when I change the word food to anything else, like book or drink, the smust be there. Am I crazy? Is only the 2nd one okay?
    May be second one seems to be more correct because kinds is a plural so food must be plural.

  7. #7
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Please - I don't know the answer to this!

    kal is dead now so its kinda pointless answering
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

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    Senior Member kalliea's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help Please - I don't know the answer to this!

    I'm not dead, I'm dying. Don't bury me before I'm gone!
    Numbers and colors are my bread and butter

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