choosing (a?) baked potato or french fries

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mikichan

Senior Member
Chinese
I've read other thread on baked potato but I still need your help.
I'm confused because "baked potato" can be used without an article in some situations.
Please help me understand the correct way to say it in these sentences below.

Situation:
You are working at a restaurant.
You are asking the customer which one he/she likes.

1. The side dish is optional: "Would you like [a / no article] baked potato or french fries with that? "

2. It comes with a side dish: "You have a choice of [a / no article] baked potato or french fries."

If these sentences sound strange, could you tell me how I should say it?

Thank you.
 
  • Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    With the two complete sentences you have given above, you need the article.

    Note that sometimes the waiter/waitress/server may just ask:
    Baked potato or french fries?
     

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I've read other thread on baked potato but I still need your help.
    I'm confused because "baked potato" can be used without an article in some situations.
    Please help me understand the correct way to say it in these sentences below.

    Situation:
    You are working at a restaurant.
    You are asking the customer which one he/she likes.

    1. The side dish is optional: "Would you like [a / no article] baked potato or french fries with that? "

    2. It comes with a side dish: "You have a choice of [a / no article] baked potato or french fries."

    If these sentences sound strange, could you tell me how I should say it?

    Thank you.
    A baked potato implies only one potato. The article less version is unclear as to whether one potato or two or more potatoes is being offered.

    GF..
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Oddly, I have heard waitresses ask "Would you like baked potato or fries with that?" Language Hound is correct, this really needs the article. But I think the waitresses are used to thinking of food in categories, so, mentally, they are thinking "Would you like the baked potato option, the french fries option, or something else?" Also side dishes are often listed this way:

    Green beans
    French fries
    Baked potato
    Garden salad
    Cesar salad
    Peas
    Broccoli

    Some of these options are plural and some are singular. The wait staff really doesn't think that hard about the grammar, they are just reciting from a list.
     
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