drink [non-alcoholic?]

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jokaec

Senior Member
Chinese - Hong Kong
If I go to a new place and I am thirsty, can I ask the pedestrians "Do you know any store nearby selling drinks?"?

Can I use "drinks" to mean some soda, water which doesn't contain alcohol ?
 
  • jokaec

    Senior Member
    Chinese - Hong Kong
    Thank you, PaulQ.
    When I think "drinks", I always associate them with alcoholic liquids. Is there any alternate other than drink that can be used in my context?
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    My wife and I were in a French supermarket yesterday and saw a section called "Espace liquides", where they sold milk, fruit juices, wine and beer. We spent several minutes discussing it, and couldn't think of any other English term than drinks.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Thank you, PaulQ.
    When I think "drinks", I always associate them with alcoholic liquids. Is there any alternate other than drink that can be used in my context?
    You could say 'something to drink': 'do you know where I can buy something to drink?'. The main use of 'drink' for 'alcohol' is in the singular as an uncountable noun: 'he's off the drink', or 'did you buy any drink for the party'? 'Drink(s)' in the countable form only refers to alcohol when the context obviously suggests alcohol.

    Usually you would just ask the way to a newsagent/corner shop/supermarket, or an offlicence if you wanted alcohol specifically.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "Do you know any store nearby selling drinks?" is AE. In BE, it would be "Do you know any shop nearby selling drinks?" This would usually limit the implication to non-alcoholic, as otherwise you would say "Do you know any off-licence nearby selling drinks?" - off-licences mainly sell alcohol.

    Another solution is "Do you know any shop nearby selling drinks - like lemonade/Coca-Cola?" This would tell the listener that you were not interested in alcohol.

    Finally, regardless of how the listener understood the question, in the UK and Ireland at least, all shops that sell alcohol also sell non-alcoholic drinks, although not all shops that sell non-alcoholic drinks sell alcohol.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    In BE, beverages is (i) formal and somewhat old-fashioned, and now chiefly used only in the drinks industry amongst themselves.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I used to see 'Beverages' as a heading in cafe menus. It always sounded pretentious to me, and as if the cafe had delusions of a grandeur that probably never existed.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Interesting. In my experience, on this side of the pond it is a relatively common, everyday word with nothing old-fashioned or pretentious about it. For example, your local sports team or fraternal organization might make a flyer advertising their annual picnic, including the statement that the price includes food and beverages. In a neighborhood delicatessen or bodega you might see a refrigerator that contained juice, soda, and bottled water for sale labeled "cold beverages." Here, for another example, is a flyer produced by the US Department of Agriculture to explain nutrition standards for items served to children in school. Note that everywhere it refers to "beverages" (which appears 6 times) rather than "drinks" (which is not used at all). I am very surprised to find this is not a common word in the UK.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Interesting. In my experience, on this side of the pond it is a relatively common, everyday word with nothing old-fashioned or pretentious about it. For example, your local sports team or fraternal organization might make a flyer advertising their annual picnic, including the statement that the price includes food and beverages. In a neighborhood delicatessen or bodega you might see a refrigerator that contained juice, soda, and bottled water for sale labeled "cold beverages." Here, for another example, is a flyer produced by the US Department of Agriculture to explain nutrition standards for items served to children in school. Note that everywhere it refers to "beverages" (which appears 6 times) rather than "drinks" (which is not used at all). I am very surprised to find this is not a common word in the UK.
    It's very common in that context, just not in spoken English. You will see it on signs on refrigerators in shops, and on ice-cream and hot dog kiosks, but you wouldn't say 'I'm just going to the shop to get some beverages'.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I agree that "beverages" is usually reserved for print rather than conversation.

    I did, however, like Jules's use of the word in Pulp Fiction.
    The boys were discussing burgers, and after a bite of one, Jules turns to Brett:
    Jules: What's in this?
    Brett: Sprite.
    Jules: Sprite, good. You mind if I have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down?

    (Conversation on IMDb to refresh your memory) :)

    So I do use "beverage" in conversation when I feel like being amusing (or self-amusing). And "food and beverage" or "F&B" is the standard term, even spoken, when discussing the workings of hotels and other hospitality venues.
     
    Last edited:

    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    A long time ago, my grandmother sometimes referred (in a disapproving tone) to "beverages", by which she meant alcoholic drinks. I've never heard anyone else use it that way.

    I wouldn't normally use the word; as PaulQ and Keith Bradford have said, it sounds a bit pompous.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    Typically people used to say "soft drinks" to distinguish the beverages from hard alcohol. If you want a selection of sodas and juice, you would have to spell it out. But I think you can still get by saying soft drinks in most of the US.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    A long time ago, my grandmother sometimes referred (in a disapproving tone) to "beverages", by which she meant alcoholic drinks. I've never heard anyone else use it that way.
    In BE, some folk refer to pints of beer drunk in a pub as 'bevvies'. The OED's earliest citation is an 1889 dictionary of slang, so it's been around for quite a while. The OED also lists 'to bevvy' a verb.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    In BE, some folk refer to pints of beer drunk in a pub as 'bevvies'. The OED's earliest citation is an 1889 dictionary of slang, so it's been around for quite a while. The OED also lists 'to bevvy' a verb.
    There's also the term 'bevvied' meaning 'very drunk' (I think this is Scottish, but maybe it is British).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Soda is non-alcoholic soda - WordReference.com Dictionary of English (although it goes by different names in different places:D What sort of drink shop are you asking about? One where they serve the liquid in a cup/glass etc for immediate consumption or one where you take away a closed container. Most places that sell drinks will tell you if you ask what is in a drink (if the information is not on the label). I assume you would not just ask for “A drink please” without being more specific, so your question is a little unclear.
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    My experience is more like GWB not Copyright. I consider beverage as a common spoken word. Drinks and beverages can be with or without alcohol. .I often see beverages on signs and on menus. Soft drinks is what I would use(redwoods coment).
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    My experience is more like GWB not Copyright. I consider beverage as a common spoken word. Drinks and beverages can be with or without alcohol. .I often see beverages on signs and on menus. Soft drinks is what I would use(redwoods coment).
    I think we're agreed that "beverages" is very common on signs and menus.

    I personally wouldn't use "soft drinks" to refer to anything but sodas (fizzy drinks like Coke and Pepsi, etc.)

    Back to the original question, I would probably say: "Do you know someplace nearby selling soft drinks and juices?" (as suggested in post 17). It may be longer, but it means what I want to say and might save on clarifying conversation. :)

    In real life, I would ask for what I wanted: "Do you know someplace nearby selling soft drinks?" Or, in a foreign country, I might say, "Do you know where I can get a Coke?"
    In a drink shop, can I ask "Is this drink/soda alcoholic or non-alcoholic?"?
    You're talking to someone about a particular product. Pick up the bottle or can, hold it up while you look at the person and ask, "Does this have alcohol?" :)
     

    andrewg927

    Senior Member
    English - American
    My experience is more like GWB not Copyright. I consider beverage as a common spoken word. Drinks and beverages can be with or without alcohol. .I often see beverages on signs and on menus. Soft drinks is what I would use(redwoods coment).
    I use "beverage" sometimes but it is odd in the original question. I think it's a little more formal than usual. In real life, I can't think of an instance where I would need to ask such question. I mean at least in the US soft drinks are sold literally everywhere. I would ask if there is a grocery store or a convenience store nearby but I wouldn't just ask for a place selling drinks.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    In a drink shop, can I ask "Is this drink/soda alcoholic or non-alcoholic?"?
    I'm assuming this is a general store where drinks are kept on a shelf or in a cool cabinet.
    • You wouldn't ask "is this soda alcoholic or non-alcoholic?" because if it's a soda (Coke, Pepsi, Irn-Bru... then it's obviously non-alcoholic.
    • You could ask "Is this drink alcoholic or non-alcoholic?" because the merchandise could vary from zero % (orange juice) though 5% (Budweiser), 7% (India pale ale) to 10% and more (Thomas Hardy's ale).
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I would ask
    "I'm looking for somewhere that sells drinks, non-alcoholic I mean."
    "Excuse me,/Could you tell me, please,/ where can I buy a drink, non-alcoholic I mean?"

    Non-alcoholic drinks are so widely sold where I live in the London suburbs, that the problem might be where to find a place that doesn't sell them!
     
    I agree with most of the other AE speakers that "beverage" is a very common, down-to-earth word. It's probably also true that it's more written than spoken, but in the right context it would still sound ordinary.

    Right now, I can't think of any actual established place that would only sell drinks, non-alcoholic or not. I'm hard-pressed to imagine such a thing.

    (And in China, do tea shops -- if that's the right English word -- just offer tea? No snacks to accompany cups of that beverage for the patrons sipping it? I find that hard to believe, but what do I know???) :rolleyes::)

    In mostly rural areas, some individuals might set up, in the summertime, lemonade stands, where freshly made lemonade is the only thing being offered, or in the fall, apple cider stands where just cider is being sold. But these are not stores or shops. They are temporary things.

    (Cider is divided into the categories of "soft" (freshly made, or bottled from freshly made) and "hard" (allowed to ferment for some time so that some of the natural sugars gradually turn into alcohol. Even so, the final result is a beverage that is very low in alcohol content).
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    "If I go to a new place and I am thirsty, can I ask the pedestrians" is quite a broad "context"! Is this in a desert, a city, a village? What kind of shops establishments are you expecting to find?
     
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