Is it “food” or “foods”?

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Earlier today (as of writing this post), I posted an update on my Facebook profile. I asked my friends to share their ideas of what I could write about on our blog.

Sure enough, several people replied and one of my friends asked us to write about countable and uncountable nouns. She mentioned that she’s heard people say and write “foods”, “informations”, “seafoods” and it’s getting her confused.

So first of all, what are countable and uncountable nouns?

Countable nouns are things that you can count. For example:

One foot, two feet, three feet.

One phone, two phones, three phones.

Uncountable nouns are things that you cannot count, or nouns that represent a group. For example:

Food, information, feedback, seafood, milk, water, advice.

The uncountable nouns do not have a plural form (plural means more than one).

Take a look at this example:

“We need to get new furniture. We need two armchairs and three lamps.”

Can you spot the nouns in the sentence? Which one is uncountable and which ones are countable?

“Furniture” is an uncountable noun. We can’t say “furnitures” even though we want to buy five pieces of furniture.

“Armchair” and “lamp” are countable nouns. When there’s more than one, we add an “s” behind the noun to make it plural: Two armchairs and three lamps.

So what about “food”? Why do we always hear people use “foods” in their sentences?

“Food” is an uncountable noun, but you can sometimes use “foods” when you’re referring to specific kinds of food.

Here are some examples where you can use “foods”. However, please bear in mind that even if you were to use “food” (without the “s”), the sentences would still be grammatically correct.

My doctor says I need to eat a lot of vegetables and healthy foods.

I looked in the freezer and I found all kinds of frozen foods.

So how do you decide whether to use “foods” or “food”?

If you’re not sure whether to use “food” or “foods”, use “food”.



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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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