Can I have <a> red wine?

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New Member
I saw these answers examples for the question "What would you like to drink?" in an English textbook:

1- Can I have red wine?
2- Can I have a soft drink?

I was wondering if the first sentence is correct, and if it is, why red wine doesn't need the article a.
Thank you very much!
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    Hi. If you ask for "a red wine" in a restaurant, you are typically asking for a glass of red wine. But that isn't necessary. It is common enough to ask about the substance itself without any mention of the amount of red wine that you want.

    Ordinarily, I'd expect to hear "Do you have red wine?" with that meaning, but the sentence in the textbook isn't strange.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    Can I have a red wine?
    You can use this if you can count red wines - for example if you are thinking of different glasses, different bottles, different brands...
    Alternatively, you can think of red wine as an uncountable kind of liquid with no specified beginning or end. In this case, don't include a.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    'A red wine' is quite normal in the sense "a glass of red wine". One difference is that if you ask for a soft drink you'll probably get a whole bottle or can, but if you ask for (a) red wine you'll get some poured out of a bottle, so it's easy to think of it as 'red wine' (some of a larger quantity) as well as 'a red wine' (a glass of it).


    New Member
    Thank you so much for the answers!
    I am still a little confused though. It is correct to say "Can I have red wine", but "Can I have draft beer", or "Can I have black coffee" sound strange to me without the article "a". Are they correct as well? Is wine an exception?


    Senior Member
    English - US
    Yes, they are correct. You are looking at some examples. It gives you a different liquid for usage - a very small sample of the possibilities. It's not trying to give you every example of possible usage for every liquid. If it did that, the list would fill a book (Can I have a jeroboam of red wine? Can I have a pony keg of beer?)
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    In this case "wine" is like "beer".

    When someone says "I'd like a beer" they are really saying, "I'd like a [glass, bottle, pitcher, flagon, tankard, etc. of) beer."

    For wine it works the same way. "I'd like a [glass, bottle, flask, etc. of] wine."
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