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    #1

    I don't like apple/apples, cat/cats...

    According to the singular count noun rule in English, countable nouns if used singularly must be preceded by some function words such as articles [a / an] and some determiners [e.g. my].

    I was thinking if this still applies in the following structure:

    I love + (1) an apple / (2) apple / (3) apples.

    If we follow the singular count noun rule, only (1) and (3) are grammaticall; however, as 1 doesn't quite make sense - as if you only love one but you detest two or more, which is only applicable to certain contexts; the author wants to express that they love 'apples' in general. So, my questions are

    - should we always use the plural forms for structures like I love..., I hate..., I don't like... ?
    - is (2) possible?

    Many Thanks

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    #2

    Re: I don't like apple/apples, cat/cats...

    These are possible:

    1. I love apples.
    2. I love apple (cooked, for dessert).
    3. I love an apple (for breakfast).

    Note that #1 is what we'd normally expect. The other two are possible only in certain contexts.

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    #3

    Re: I don't like apple/apples, cat/cats...

    You'd only say 'I love cat' if you were eating it — like 'I love chicken'.

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    #4

    Re: I don't like apple/apples, cat/cats...

    Brilliant! Many Thanks
    That means my hypothesis was right. The singular count noun rule still applies. How about the generic reference?
    I heard people sometimes use the + noun to refer to a group of things.

    Can I say:
    I like the cat? [referring to cats in general?] I don't like the apple? [referring to apples in general, red or green]?

    Thanks again

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    #5

    Re: I don't like apple/apples, cat/cats...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tedwonny View Post
    Can I say:
    I like the cat? [referring to cats in general?] I don't like the apple? [referring to apples in general, red or green]?
    It's not impossible, in a formal lecture, for example, but I don't recommend it.

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    #6

    Re: I don't like apple/apples, cat/cats...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tedwonny View Post
    Can I say:
    I like the cat? [referring to cats in general?]
    In most contexts, people would wonder which cat.

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    #7

    Re: I don't like apple/apples, cat/cats...

    The article works for a collective noun in phrases like "Save the Whale". It doesn't refer to a single whale, it refers to the battle to save the entire species.

    "I'm going on a demo/march on Saturday to save the Sumatran tiger."
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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