a/one piece of cake

moseen

Senior Member
Farsi
Could you please explain dofferences?
1) Would you like a piece of cake?
2) Would you like one piece of cake?
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    'A piece of cake' is idiomatic. To say 'one' suggests two things:
    1. You think the other person is so greedy that they might take two
    2. You are so stingy you would begrudge them taking two pieces if they really wanted two.
    Both these situations might well be true when offering cake to children.
     

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    How much cake do you want? One piece, or two?

    Note that a piece of cake is also an idiom, meaning something easily achieved.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Thanks a lot both.
    One piece mean only one piece no more, do a piece mean only one piece or it can mean one piece and more?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks a lot both.
    One piece mean only one piece no more, do a piece mean only one piece or it can mean one piece and more?
    No, it also means one piece, but there is no stress on the 'one'. It would be rude to take more than one, well, not without asking first.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Use 'one' only when it matters. Yet again you gave no context, you can't expect a really useful answer.
    'One' means one and 'a' means one too, not more than one.
    If more than one was meant, we'd use a number or say 'some pieces of cake'. 'Some' with a plural means 'more than a/one.'
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    No, it also means one piece, but there is no stress on the 'one'. It would be rude to take more than one, well, not without asking first.
    Use 'one' only when it matters. Yet again you gave no context, you can't expect a really useful answer.
    'One' means one and 'a' means one too, not more than one.
    If more than one was meant, we'd use a number or say 'some pieces of cake'. 'Some' with a plural means 'more than a/one.'
    Thanks so much both.
    The context is when we invite someone for cake.
    Is would you like some cake? different with two sentence above?
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    A piece of cake' is idiomatic. To say 'one' suggests two things:
    1. You think the other person is so greedy that they might take two
    2. You are so stingy you would begrudge them taking two pieces if they really wanted two.
    3. You are Hawaiian.
     
    Last edited:

    tunaafi

    Senior Member
    English - British (Southern England)
    Is would you like some cake? different
    Would you like a cake? The cakes on offer are complete in themselves. They are not slices cut from a larger cake.
    Would you like some cake.What is being offered is (usually) slices cut from a large cake.
     

    Giordano Bruno

    Senior Member
    English, England
    Many languages make no distinction between the indefinite article and the number one. English does and this allows a nuance. You would not normally offer a piece of cake and make a specific restriction about the quantity and therefore one would say "a" piece.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    3. You are Hawaiian.
    Would you like a cake? The cakes on offer are complete in themselves. They are not slices cut from a larger cake.
    Would you like some cake.What is being offered is (usually) slices cut from a large cake.
    The usual polite offer is "Would you like some cake?"
    Thanks a lot all.
    Many languages make no distinction between the indefinite article and the number one. English does and this allows a nuance. You would not normally offer a piece of cake and make a specific restriction about the quantity and therefore one would say "a" piece.
    Thank you so much.
    If we say a piece it doesn't make a specific restriction about the quantity?
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Actually, it does – "a piece" is simply a more subtle way of saying "one piece." That's why I normally ask if someone would like "some cake."
    Thank you so much.
    When they are not slices cut from a larger cake, which one is more likely if this is a general invitation, a or one, please?
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    We would never say 'would you like one cake'. As others have said, that would sound very rude.

    If you are offering a plate of individual cakes, you could say 'Would you like a cake?'.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you so much.
    When they are not slices cut from a larger cake, which one is more likely if this is a general invitation, a or one, please?
    Copyright in post #13 is correct that 'a' means 'one'. But to say 'one' is to make it emphatic. One and only one. Don't even think of asking for two!

    Usually when we are offering cake, we are being polite, so such emphasis is misplaced. It is a bit like saying please and thank you; they don't change what you are saying, but they do change the tone you are saying it in.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    When a and one offer one cake, could you please explain why using of one is rude and using of a is not rude?
    Because "one" is very numerical, while "a" is not.

    A: I'm sorry I misbehaved.
    B: Ok, I'm going to give you a chance.
    B: Ok. I'm going to give one chance.


    Which would you rather have? :)

    Cross-posted x 2.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    See post #2.
    Copyright in post #13 is correct that 'a' means 'one'. But to say 'one' is to make it emphatic. One and only one. Don't even think of asking for two!

    Usually when we are offering cake, we are being polite, so such emphasis is misplaced. It is a bit like saying please and thank you; they don't change what you are saying, but they do change the tone you are saying it in.
    Because "one" is very numerical, while "a" is not.

    A: I'm sorry I misbehaved.
    B: Ok, I'm going to give you a chance.
    B: Ok. I'm going to give one chance.


    Which would you rather have? :)

    Cross-posted x 2.
    Thank you very much all for your help.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The host of the party is my good friend. My ailing spouse is sick at home and couldn't attend the party.
    The host says:
    Would you like a piece of cake?
    I say:
    Yes. Can I have a piece to take home to my spouse? It's his/her favorite cake.

    The host says:
    Would you like one piece of cake?
    I say:
    Yes. ( I'm too intimidated to ask for another piece because you sound like you're being very stingy with the cake.)
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    The host of the party is my good friend. My ailing spouse is sick at home and couldn't attend the party.
    The host says:
    Would you like a piece of cake?
    I say:
    Yes. Can I have a piece to take home to my spouse? It's his/her favorite cake.

    The host says:
    Would you like one piece of cake?
    I say:
    Yes. ( I'm too intimidated to ask for another piece because you sound like you're being very stingy with the cake.)
    Thank you so much.
     
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