a bottle of (something to) drink

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, let's say two people are starting to climb a mountain. One of them says, "Just wait here, I'm going to grab a bottle of drink. Have you got yours already?", before heading to a nearby vending machine.

The reason he specified the type of container ("bottle") is that he knew it would be convenience because it's re-cappable. The reason he said "drink" instead of "water", "(Japanese/Chinese) tea", etc. is that he hadn't decided what kind of drinks to buy at that time. (They are obviously in Japan, where vending machines sell bottles of Japanese/Chines teas, coffees, etc.)

Does "a bottle of drink" in the example work or should it be "a bottle of something to drink"?
 
  • Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    "I need to get something to drink". I can't think why she would feel the need to announce exactly what in. It would be like saying as you go into the cafe "I'm going to have some tea in a cup, with two sugars, no milk".

    Now, if she were advising her novice climbing companion, it would make sense to say "Make sure you get it in a bottle with a sports top", if that's what that sort of top is called.* You pull part of it up to drink from it. Then there's the sort with the joined flap top. The point is not that they are re-cappable, since most bottles are in my experience, but that the cap is joined to the bottle in one way or another so it can't be lost.
    * It seems it is called a sports cap.
    Packaging Styles - Bottle Caps by Liquid Packaging Solutions
     
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    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'd say either 'a bottle of drink', or 'something to drink'.

    (And I'd be pleasantly surprised to find a vending machine so conveniently sited near the bottom of the mountain. :))


    Cross-posted.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you both very much. Glad to know that "a bottle of drink" works in this context (it didn't in another context).
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    "A bottle of drink" does not work at all for me. Perhaps that's an AE/BE difference?
    In fact, two posters who said "a bottle of drink" doesn't work (in another thread of mine) were both AE speakers. This is interesting. The following is an even better example (which I've just created).

    - A truck driving in front of me carrying bottles of drinks suddenly rolled over, but I managed to escape it.

    The speaker could see that the drinks the truck was carrying were all bottled drinks. But he couldn't tell what kinds of drinks they were. Some looked like water, some looked like Coke, some looked like wine...
    Does "bottles of drinks" in this sentence not work in AE? What expression would you use instead? "bottled drinks"?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It seems I didn't make it clear that 'bottle of' drink doesn't work for me either in the original context. What else would it be?
    The thing is why does 'bottles' come into either of these contexts at all? What is the real question about?
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    A: A truck driving in front of me suddenly rolled over, but I managed to escape it.
    B: What was it carrying?
    A: Bottles of drinks.


    Why should A bother to mention "bottles"?
    If I were A, I'd mention it. I'd want to make information as accurate as possible for the sake of B.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    So, "a bottle of" doesn't work when the content is not specific enough. That's really interesting.

    1. There were a few bottles of drinks on the table. :cross:
    2. There were a few bottles of soda on the table. :tick: (I believe this works, just like "bottles of wine")
    3. There were a few bottles of Sprite on the table. :tick:

    And I wonder if the same applies to, say, "box".

    4. There were a few boxes of food on the table. :confused:
    5. There were a few boxes of candy on the table. :tick:
    6. There were a few boxes of M&M's on the table. :tick:
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    4. There were a few boxes of food on the table.
    That mostly sounds weird because I don't equate food with boxes. This sounds fine:

    There were a few some platters of food on the table.

    Also:
    There were a few some bottled drinks on the table.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    4. There were a few boxes of food on the table. :confused:
    "Food" and "drink" are not equivalent words for carrying out the experiment you seem to want to perform. But this has nothing to do with whether they are in containers or not.

    I want some food. :tick:
    I want some drink. :cross::confused:
    I want something to drink. :tick:
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    The fact that "bottle of drink" doesn't work in English is very surprising, and although WHY it doesn't work is still a mystery, I'll avoid using it.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Is it wrong to use "a few" when the speaker wants to say there weren't many bottles/boxes?
    I don't think it's wrong but after I typed out the sentence it seemed that "some" was better. In my mind there is not a hugely significant difference in meaning between some and a few, although, again, I think it matters whether you are talking about food or drink.

    Speaking of food:
    I think this might be why I changed it to "some". Both "a few" and "some" represent an undetermined amount of food but "some" goes better with food than "a few" does.
    There were a few platters of food on the table.
    There were some platters of food on the table.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    I thought native English speakers use "some" when they want to make the amount (or percentage, frequency, etc.) vague. "Some people" could mean "a couple of people", "a few people", "several people", "a dozen people", etc., but I don't think "a few people" could mean "several people", "a dozen people", etc. Maybe it's different when it's about food (especially in the above context).
     
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