Talking about fruit & veg in English

Talking about fruit & veg

Talking about fruit and veg can differ a lot from country to country. Is a tomatoe a vegetable or a fruit? Is a Niçoise salad a vegetarian dish? It’s a good question for debate. I won’t settle the debate, but I will list a bunch of fruit and veg you can use to describe the fruit and veg itself or a dish that uses the fruit or vegetable.

 

Pronunciation: One important thing – for beginners

 

How many parts (syllables) does the word “vegetable” have? If you said 3, you’re right! Many English learners pronounce the word with 4 syllables. The last part of the word should not sound like the word “table”. Instead, it is pronounced, /ˈvedʒtəbl/ or VEDGE T’BL.

 


What about the people who only eat vegetables or choose not to eat meat or animal products? They are called:

  • vegetarian:
  • a person who doesn’t eat meat

  • vegan:
  • a person who doesn’t eat meat + doesn’t eggs, cheese, honey or other animal products

 


Green vegetables

Here are the names of some green veggies.

 

Vegetable
lettuce (US), salad (GB)
cucumber
asparagus
broccoli
peas
bell peppers
celery
pickles (US) – pickled cucumbers
gherkins (GB) – pickled cucumbers
pickle (GB) – pickled vegetables
brussel sprouts
courgette (GB), zucchini (US)
green beans
kale
spinach

Colorful vegetables

Here are the names of the most common non-green veggies.

 

Vegetables
tomatoes (technically, this is a fruit)
onions
pumpkins
aubergines(GB), eggplants(US)
red & yellow bell peppers
beets
cauliflower
mushrooms
capers
turnips
rhubarb
olives (green, black)
squash
corn (US), maiz (GB)

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What about fruit?

Talking about fruit may not be as controversial as talking about vegetables. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because the sweetness of fruit makes it less political. One of the most interesting things about fruit is that what a person considers normal in their country may be exotic in another. In the United States, cranberries aren’t so special, but many of us have never seen physalis or sandorn berries which are common in other countries. Below is a list of the most common fruits.

Fruit & fruits

Note: Fruit can be singular or plural. If we talk about “fruit” as in “I like fruit.”, it means, I like fruit in general. If I say, “I like fruits.”, it may mean, I like 2 fruits (e.g. bananas and oranges), but I might not like the rest.
 


Here are the names of some of the most common fruits.

 

Fruit(s)
banana
apple
orange
grapefruit
lemon
lime
clementines
tangerine
peaches
pineapples
strawberry/ies
cherry/ies
blueberry/ies
blackberry/ies
raspberry/ies
grapes
pomegranites
mangos
watermelons
cantelopes
honeydew melons
avocados
coconuts
cranberry/ies
figs
dates
kiwifruit
passionfruit
plums
papayas
pears
starfruits
persimmons
plums
dragonfruit
pomelos
nectarines

What happens now?

With the terms above, you should be able to talk about most basic fruits and vegetables. Stay tuned for my next blog where I tell you how to talk about starches, flavours and cooking methods. There will also be a few quizzes.


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