Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. Junior Member
    Interested in Language
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2004
    • Posts: 94

    "fruit" as a verb

    Given this sentence:

    Fruit flies like bananas.

    Why can "fruit" not be a verb? I realize it is being used as a noun in this sentence.

    If "fruit" was a verb then "flies" must be a noun.

  2. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 59,789

    Re: "fruit" as a verb

    If 'fruit' were a verb in this sentence, it would have to be an imperative, ordering someone to do the same to flies as bananas, whatever 'fruiting a fly' would be.

  3. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
    • Posts: 12,970

    Re: "fruit" as a verb

    Additionally, English is an SVO language: Subject+Verb+Object word-order.

    Statement: Fruit flies (subject) like (verb) banana (object).
    Imperative: [You] (subject) like (verb) fruit flies (object)! (awkward command)

    The subject comes first, the verb second, and the object third, so naturally speakers of English interpret the first word - or at least the word that comes before the verb - as the subject.

    With questions though, the word-order changes. The Verb comes first. Either the Subject-Verb pair is inverted (SV -> VS) or a form of DO is inserted.

    DO Insertion
    Fruit flies like bananas. => Dofruit flies like bananas?

    Subject-Verb Invertion
    Fruit flies are insects. => Are fruit flies insects?

    If anything, it'd be 'flies' that some speakers might interpret as being the verb. 'flies' is a verb as well as a noun.

    [1] Fruit (Subject) flies (Verb) like bananas. (like means, in the same way as)
    Cf. That kite flies like a bird.

    Example [1] is grammatical, but not all that meaningful. You see, bananas can't fly.

Similar Threads

  1. She sailed through her exams.
    By M56 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 23-Aug-2005, 07:48
  2. verbs
    By eyescold_07 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 08-Aug-2005, 06:32
  3. BELIEVE verb question
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 21-Feb-2005, 05:36
  4. noun phrases
    By sting in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Aug-2004, 21:52
  5. Re: Finite/non-finite verbs
    By TILLY CHATTS in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 19-Nov-2003, 01:05


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts