Are both sentences correct?If so, which sentence is more common or natural?
1. Grapefruit is sour.
2. Grapefruits are sour.
Original Post
Both are correct.

The singular form – "grapefruit" – appears in 879,000 examples on Google, while the plural form – "grapefruits" – appears only 55,500.

The larger number includes, though, "grapefruit" as an adjective as in "grapefruit juice," so the number would be somewhat smaller if we include only the noun form. Nevertheless, the singular form does appear to be much more common and natural.

The Collins COBUILD states that the plural form of "grapefruit" can be either "grapefruit" or "grapefruits."
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Here's an example from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) at: www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/5aday/month/grapefruit.htm:

"¢ There are three major types of grapefruit white, pink/red, and star ruby/rio red varieties. All grapefruit have a similar tangy-sweet flavor and are very juicy. The grapefruits that are used to make juice are those which contain seeds. The pink or red variety contains more vitamins than the white.

This is interesting because we see "grapefruit" used here in different ways:

1) The first example (three major types of grapefruit) shows "grapefruit" as a noncount noun, or as an example of a count noun used to represent a class or type of something.

2) The second example (all grapefruit have) shows "grapefruit" as a plural noun, with the same plural form as singular form. We know that the noun is plural because of the verb "have." This singular/plural sameness is like the word "series."

3) The third example (the grapefruits that are used) shows "grapefruit""”with a normal plural –s ending – as a plural count noun.

This last example refers to certain grapefruits – those which contain seeds. In this case, each grapefruit can be thought of as one piece of fruit, like an orange. It is in this sense, with each grapefruit considered an individual item, that the –s plural might be used.

The word "orange," however, is a count noun only. "Orange" could not be substituted for "grapefruit" as a noncount noun in these sentences. But, "orange" could be substituted for "grapefruit" as a singular count noun representing a class in the first example. "Orange" could not be substituted for "grapefruit" in the second example; the noun would have to appear in its plural form with -s: "all oranges have." "Oranges" – the plural form – could be substituted for "grapefruits" in the third example.

"Grapefruit" is an unusual word. There may be confusion about its plural form because of "fruit," which is normally a noncount noun but often a count noun.

Rachel
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*The Collins COBUILD English Dictionary. Harper Collins. 1995

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