An ice cream cone or an ice cream?

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Tenacious Learner

Senior Member
Spanish
Hi teachers,
We can see in the picture a girl eating an ice cream cone with strawberry ice cream on top of the cone.
Would both be correct to say? My attempt is 'a'.
a) She is eating an ice cream cone.
b) She is eating an ice cream.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    For me both are fine. Your choice a) adds detail, and I think it's obvious that the cone isn't empty but has ice-cream in it.
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hi teachers,We can see in the picture a girl eating an ice cream cone with strawberry ice cream on top of the cone.Would both be correct to say? My attempt is 'a'.a) She is eating an ice cream cone.b) She is eating an ice cream.Thanks in advance.
    Hello, Tenacious. For me 'an ice-cream cone' is the thing in which they put ice-cream. It is empty, mind you - there is no ice cream in it. Still, it is edible so a hungry enough girl just might be tempted to eat it. :) Maybe she is eating ice cream in/on/from a cone?... Or maybe a cone of ice cream...
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A member of my family does in fact have the annoying habit of eating dry ice cream cones when the ice-cream runs out, but I still think it's unusual enough not to be the norm when we think of an "ice-cream cone". It's like "eating a bowl of cornflakes" - we assume the cornflakes come complete with milk and possibly sugar.
     

    Tenacious Learner

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Hello, Tenacious. For me 'an ice-cream cone' is the thing in which they put ice-cream. It is empty, mind you - there is no ice cream in it. Still, it is edible so a hungry enough girl just might be tempted to eat it. :) Maybe she is eating ice cream in/on/from a cone?... Or maybe a cone of ice cream...
    Hi Boozer,
    Thanks for your interest. I've asked because I google and I've seen pictures where they were called 'ice cream cones' with ice cream in it, and pictures without the word 'cone' but with ice cream in it called 'ice cream' only.

    TL
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    In American English, both the empty cone and a cone with ice cream in it is an ice cream cone. We generally don't say "an ice cream" in that context.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    In American English, both the empty cone and a cone with ice cream in it is an ice cream cone. We generally don't say "an ice cream" in that context.
    We don't? I do. Though I agree that if I were describing a picture of someone eating ice cream from a cone I would say "She's eating an ice cream cone."

    Yesterday I decided to go get an ice cream. My friend decided to come along and get an ice cream as well. I had mine in a cone and she had hers in a bowl.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Yesterday I decided to go get an ice cream. My friend decided to come along and get an ice cream as well. I had mine in a cone and she had hers in a bowl.
    Hmmm..... I would consider "some ice cream" to be more normal in the U.S. than an ice cream (at least in my experience)

    Comments?
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I agree - an ice cream isn't a phrase that I am likely to say. But that isn't to say that no AmE speaker ever uses it - Sparky does, for example. I do think it's fairly unusual, though.
    And I would only use it if I were buying a single serving of ice cream, or an ice cream bar. If I were going to scoup my own ice cream into a bowl or cone I would say "I'm having some ice cream."
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    And I would only use it if I were buying a single serving of ice cream, or an ice cream bar. If I were going to scoup my own ice cream into a bowl or cone I would say "I'm having some ice cream."
    I always knew you were unusual. ;) If I were buying a single serving and couldn't specify what form that might take (e.g., a cone or a bar or whatever), I'd say "I'm going for some ice cream."
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    I don't know about AE, but I would not think anything of it if it a mother told her child 'Go have an ice cream and leave me alone!' In much the same way people can have a beer, a tea, a coffee, etc. However, eating an ice cream or drinking a tea/coffee sound to me less usual. :confused:
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I always thought of "an ice cream" as an East Coast phrase, something that television and movie writers use because they think everybody talks like them (cf. "stand on line"). After reading Sparky and Kate's discussion, maybe Indiana is bigger than I thought!
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I don't know about AE, but I would not think anything of it if it a mother told her child 'Go have an ice cream and leave me alone!' In much the same way people can have a beer, a tea, a coffee, etc. However, eating an ice cream or drinking a tea/coffee sound to me less usual. :confused:
    On second thought, I agree with this.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I often can no longer tell what is BrE and AmE. I grew up in the UK and they had ice-cream vans that would drive around blaring a loud cute tune and sell "ice creams" (In the US the name Mr Softee comes to mind.) Anything they sold would fall into that general category: cones, tubs, frozen juice bars, ice cream sandwiches, chocolate coated etc. etc. "Mummy, mummy I want an ice cream!" "What kind, Julian?" "An Orange Maid (frozen juice bar)". Similarly, the shops had freezers where you would select "an ice cream" from the same range of items. So veliarius and I seem to have the same "ice cream is generic for frozen things like that even if they don't have any cream/fakefood pretending the be cream etc"". An ice cream cone is a specific item in the broad category.
     
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