A whiskey neat

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Jose.regoterol

Member
Spanish - Spain
The word of Today, 22th October of 2015, have been "neat". The definition is clear, Neat is an adjetive, but there one example sentence I don't understand.

"Carter ordered a whiskey neat at the bar"

Why neat is after whiskey? Whiskey is the noun and neat the adjetive. The example sentence must be:

"Carter ordered a
neat whiskey at the bar"

But, maybe the verb
ordered changes the order of the sentence.

I attach the link: http://daily.wordreference.com/w/gQTx762wMc763Er9763MvDS3jA

Thanks for your reply.
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    "Neat," in the sense of "without ice," is normally postpositive (goes after the name of the drink). This probably helps to differentiate it from "neat" in all of its other senses: tidy, cool!, etc.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    It's no different than ordering "roast beef, medium rare."

    Sometimes we just say things that way.

    Adjectives do not always precede the noun they modify, regardless of what some books might tell you.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    It's common to order this way in bars/restaurants, perhaps because an order at a restaurant is exactly that, an instruction. When a waiter gets an order for 'beef, medium rare' they literally write something like 'bf, (m. rare)' in their notebook. In the same way, you might order 'two whiskies, one neat, one on the rocks', because the server will pour the two whiskies first, then add the ice later. You're basically telling the person the information in the order they need to hear it, it's speaking in note form rather than in fully grammatical English.

    This usually only happens in spoken English, not in writing. In this case it might well be indirect speech: if someone 'orders a whiskey, neat' it's likely because they literally said "can I have a whiskey, neat".
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    You sometimes find this construction outside the context of ordering food or drinks as well.

    He likes coffee piping hot.
    He wears his shirts loose.
     
    Nice post. One minor quibble, alluded to by Barque. Post position is sometimes quite
    grammatical, even desirable or obligatory. It is 'note form', but that saying the same thing: noun first.

    Here's an example from edufind.com

    Here is a list of the people present at the meeting.

    It's common to order this way in bars/restaurants, perhaps because an order at a restaurant is exactly that, an instruction. When a waiter gets an order for 'beef, medium rare' they literally write something like 'bf, (m. rare)' in their notebook. In the same way, you might order 'two whiskies, one neat, one on the rocks', because the server will pour the two whiskies first, then add the ice later. You're basically telling the person the information in the order they need to hear it, it's speaking in note form rather than in fully grammatical English.

    This usually only happens in spoken English, not in writing. In this case it might well be indirect speech: if someone 'orders a whiskey, neat' it's likely because they literally said "can I have a whiskey, neat".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I always order "Johnny Walker Black [label] straight up and neat."

    Straight up = not diluted with any water
    Neat = no ice

    But the adjectives always follow the the liquor.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    While I have no difficulty with any of the explanations for the wording in post 1, I think it's important to say that the original sentence could also have been expressed as Carter ordered a neat whiskey....
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I agree Loob. The pre position, here, cannot be labelled incorrect (forbidden), though it's far less common.
    I've just been amusing myself by ngramming whiskey neat, neat whiskey, whisky neat, neat whisky. The results are ... inconclusive:D
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I've been thinking about Barque examples. I think you can consider neat an object complement rather than a word that modifies whiskey. This becomes obvious when you replace the noun with a pronoun (you can't modify a pronoun with an adjective, and therefore the adjective isn't a modifier):

    Some like it hot
    I'd prefer it neat
    I asked for it undiluted

    'Carter ordered a whiskey neat' and 'Carter ordered a neat whiskey' are slightly different in focus.
     
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