Do you like...?

English grammar and usage issues

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Do you like...?

Unread postby Senshin » 07 Sep 2011, 05:15

I was wondering (while explaining some grammar to students) why we say "Do you like pizza (singular)?" vs. "Do you like hamburgers (plural)?" despite the fact both words have plural forms.

Another example would be "Do you like cabbage?" vs. "Do you like carrots?"

Any ideas?

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Re: Do you like...?

Unread postby Alex Case » 07 Sep 2011, 22:08

That's a great question!

Actually, most foods have both countable and uncountable forms, so that the normal question "Would you like some pizza?" is different in meaning to "Would you like some pizzas?" (mini pizzas or famously greedy guest??). Because one person usually eats just part of a pizza or a cabbage, I'm guessing it makes sense to always use the uncountable form unless you have a more ununusual meaning in mind, e.g. "Do you like cabbages?" being for a question for a farmer or gardener.

This is another great reason to never teach foods as being countable or uncountable. It's much better to teach the differences between "Would you like some apple?" (because I've already cut one up) and "Would you like an apple?" etc, something that is best done through drawing. You can find a worksheet of mine that does that plus adds some speaking by Googling "countable and uncountable foods presentation and speaking"

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Re: Do you like...?

Unread postby xiphiasatsi » 08 May 2013, 10:08


I guess that depends on size.Pizza is big that is why singular is used.Let us look at this way,a person can eat 1 whole pizza,that is 1 pizza and remember not a slice of pizza.But he cannot eat more than 1 pizzas at a time.He can eat more than 1 hamburgers at a time plus hamburgers are small as compared to pizza.So using plural is fine.

This is same in the case of cabbage and carrots.Have you ever seen a person eating a whole of cabbage? He will eat a part of it and never a full cabbage.He can eat more than 1 whole carrot.Because carrots are small and a person can finish whole carrot.

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