dessert/desserts

sevengem

Senior Member
Chinese
Sometimes I am just so confused when is the noun countable and when is it not. Like the word "dessert", the dictionary says both. So, in this sentence, Though she is afraid of being fat, she is fond of having ______ after dinner. Dessert or desserts?
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    In this case, she would have dessert after dinner.

    Dessert is the course.
    Desserts are the individual items.

    She could, therefore, have several desserts for dessert, e.g. Baked Alaska, banana split, tiramisu, chocolate mousse and apple pie.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Sometimes I am just so confused when is the noun countable and when is it not. Like the word "dessert", the dictionary says both. So, in this sentence, Though she is afraid of being fat, she is fond of having ______ after dinner. Dessert or desserts?
    I would use "desserts" in that case, since you are talking/writing in general.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I can't explain the varied difference, but if I meant it in general, I'd use "desserts".

    She is fond of having desserts after dinner.

    In other words, she likes desserts after dinner.

    That to me does not mean that she likes 5 desserts at once after dinner.
     
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    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Sorry, but your answers varied. Are both "dessert" and "desserts" OK?
    The only one that works here (for me) is: She is fond of having dessert after dinner.

    Normally, you would only have one dessert for your dessert course, e.g. apple pie. But if you wanted more than one -- apple pie and tiramisu -- then you would be having two desserts (individual items) for dessert (the course).

    Added: I see that perpend and I disagree. That's language and personal preference for you.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    I'm struggling to find a similar example. Maybe:

    She is fond of having chocolate after dinner.
    She is fond of having chocolates after dinner.

    It's a tough call.
     

    sevengem

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    According to your discussion, I tend to choose "dessert" in this case, but I think "desserts" is better if the question is changed into Though she is afraid of being fat, she is fond of having ______.What do you think?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    According to your discussion, I tend to choose "dessert" in this case, but I think "desserts" is better if the question is changed into Though she is afraid of being fat, she is fond of having ______.What do you think?
    I would still use dessert.

    I'm surprised, with dessert being served, that there aren't more people bellying up to this thread. Why don't you wait a while -- I'm sure others will arrive with their opinions.
     
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    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If I meant that she had a sweet course after dinner, I would use the singular:
    She is found of having dessert after dinner.

    If the point was that she ate more than one type of sweet, I would say "She is fond of having several desserts after dinner." I would include a word like 'several' to clarify my meaning. The plural sounds strange to me without it.

    In real life, I would probably leave off 'after dinner', since dessert is by definition the final course of a meal, at least as I hear it used. And I would say "She likes to have ...." rather than "She is fond of having ...."
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Here's another vote for dessert to refer to the course.

    she is fond of having ______ after dinner
    I tend to think of dessert as part of dinner, so I might say 'she is fond of having dessert to round off dinner'.

    (In BrE, outside of a restaurant, it is common to use more informal terms: pudding, afters, sweet. I use the first one rather than the others, and I would use the singular pudding​ in your context.)
     
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