A dollop of cream

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DPao

New Member
Chinese-Mandarin
First post!

Hello everyone! My name is Doris.

Can you help me with this please:
Once I picked up a tube of hand cream, I squeezed out a dollop of (the) cream into my hand.
Once I picked up a tube of hand cream, I squeezed out a bit of (the) cream into my hand.

I am wondering: is it okay like that? A dollop/bit of cream? Or should it be a dollop/a bit of the cream because that cream was already mentioned (the hand cream that I picked up)? I think the article there is unnecessary. The emphasis is on the dollop and the bit, and not the cream (it's not like "some of the cream"). But maybe I am wrong.

Thank you!

P.S. I know I can just say "a dollop into my hand" and end it there, but I want to learn more about articles.
 
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  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Welcome to the English forum, DPao! :)

    I agree that you can say a dollop/bit/a small amount of cream without an article. Of course, the fact that the is unnecessary does not mean that it is better to leave it out.

    But I a have small reservation which may just be a personal preference in that I would only use dollop in connection with eating or cooking something.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    But I a have small reservation which may just be a personal preference in that I would only use dollop in connection with eating or cooking something.
    I share this reservation. While "dollop of hand cream" would be understood, it doesn't sound quite right to me, whereas I have no objection to "dollop of cream (for eating)".
     

    DPao

    New Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    Thank you, e2efour and sound shift. Just to make sure: do you agree that I can omit the article in general (which is obvious), or also in that particular sentence now that I mentioned that cream it in the first part of the sentence? I am worried about that sentence. And do you think it is better with the definite article there?
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    I agree with e2e and sound shift. The amount of cream we usually squeeze out onto our hand is that of a quarter, a five-cent coin, a twenty-cent coin etc. :)
     
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    DPao

    New Member
    Chinese-Mandarin
    Okay, let's forget the dollop. "A bit of". "A gob of". "A lump of". "An amount of". It's the article I am worried about.

    Is it acceptable without the definite article (apparently yes) and it is better with the definite article?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I would say "a bit of cream" unless there was a specific reason to use THE: e.g. earlier in the story I had been given a luxury pack of cream so I want to draw attention to the specific nature of the cream I am using, then I would say I used a bit of THE cream.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I certainly do not intend to be unhelpful, but in sentences such as yours I wouldn't use ' X of something'.

    'I picked up the tube of face cream and squeezed some/ a little/ a bit into the palm of my hand'. We know it is the contents of the tube that you're squeezing.

    'Without realising that I had picked up my grandma's tube of hemorrhoid ointment by mistake, I squeezed it/ some/ a lot/ a bit/ onto my toothbrush'.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    I would necessarily use "a bit of", that is, the indefinite article when talking about quantities. I don't see how you could omit it.

    Pour a cupful of cream. Take the cupful of cream you have just poured and place a dollop of butter in it.
     
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