I don't like octopus. [food items countable?]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by newname, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. newname Senior Member

    Vietnamese
    Hello,

    When talking about things that we eat, can I count every thing as uncountable (except those that are always plural like chips)?
    Examples:
    1.I like octopus.
    2.I like banana.
    3.I love chicken.
    4.I hate cucumber.
    5.I like dog.
    etc.

    I know for sure that 1 and 3 are correct. I am not sure about the rest.

    Thank you.

    P.S
    And is it good English to say:
    I like octopuses/chickens/bananas. (meaning like to eat octopuses/chickens/bananas, etc.)
     
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    What I would say. The bold ones are the ones I've changed.

    1.I like octopus.
    2.I like bananas.
    3.I love chicken.
    4.I hate cucumbers.
    5.I like dog.

    As for #2, I would use "I like banana" if I were talking about banana as an ingredient or flavoring. What kind of pudding do you like? I like chocolate and banana ... definitely not strawberry.

    The same would be true for cucumber, but I can't think of any instance where I've talking about cucumber-flavored anything.

    I think with meats and fish that you would normally use the singular: trout, sea bass, catfish, lobster, chicken, turkey, quail, pork, beef, dog, cat. But I would always say clams and scallops. (You have to love English.) :)
     
  3. ribran

    ribran Senior Member

    Austin, Texas
    English - American
    I'd say that's about right. I would rather use the plural for #2, but #4 sounds fine to me. I suppose the reason for that is that bananas, unlike cucumbers, tend to be eaten whole alone, from a bunch.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2012
  4. newname Senior Member

    Vietnamese
    Thank you all for the quick replies.

    So, in fact, there's no rule at all and you have to know when to "hold" cucumber and when to throw them. :) (How I love the gambler song!)
    @Riban
    In my country, we almost always eat the whole cucumber. And very often you can see people eat only a half of a banana, especially children.
     
  5. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    I like a banana. Occasionally.
    I like bananas. In general.
    I like banana. As a pudding or a daiquiri (a flavor, in general).
     
  6. brampton Junior Member

    Princeton, NJ
    English - English RP
    "I love dogs" and "I love chickens" clearly refer to living animals. As for cucumbers, the sizes vary. One would hardly eat whole a cucumber 18 inches (50 cms) long.

    [SIZE=-1]"It has been a common saying of physicians in England, that a cucumber should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing."[/SIZE]
    Dr Samuel Johnson, quoted by Boswell
     
  7. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    You've changed the wording from "like" to "love."
     
  8. brampton Junior Member

    Princeton, NJ
    English - English RP
    Either way.
     
  9. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    Not true.

    What do you serve your guests for lavish banquets?
    I like chickens for simple meals, but occasionally add goats and for a real treat a spit-roasted camel.
     
  10. brampton Junior Member

    Princeton, NJ
    English - English RP
    We weren't offered such a complex context, I think. We can easily think of many near-synonyms that would be better in other contexts.
     
  11. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I agree with Copyright (post #2), except that I would not include "dog" on the list at all. This appears, otherwise, to be a list of foods. At least in the U.S., dogs are not eaten.
     
  12. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    Penang
    American English
    It is a list of foods. From Wikipedia: Dog meat: According to contemporary reports, dog meat is consumed in a variety of countries such as Switzerland, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Korea.
     

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