Escargots is/are snails cooked with garlic

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mikichan

Senior Member
Chinese
Which should I use, is or are?


“Escargots is/are snails cooked with garlic”


I want to explaing the dish in English, and “Escargots” is the name of the menu. So, singular sounds ok but it has “an s” at the end because it is the plural “snails” in French....


What would you say as a native English speaker?


Thank you.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    You can use either depending on whether you consider "escargot" as a dish/menu item or animals.

    As a menu item, I would expect a more sophisticated name than simply Escargot, but it's not mandatory, of course.
     
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    e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Escargot is not an English word. We have snails (or edible snails) and escargot would only appear on a menu.
    It would mean nothing to the average English speaker, unless they were in the habit of dining out on snails.
     
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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It would mean nothing to the average English speaker, unless they were in the habit of dining out on snails.
    In AmE, there's a joke about a snail who paints a big S on his car because he wants people to say "look at that S car go" when he drives by. Most people seem to understand the joke.
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    Escargot is widely understood in the US, although that doesn't mean 100 percent of the population knows it.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Escargot is not an English word.
    Both WR and Merriam-Webster list escargot(s). It's an American English word, at minimum.

    I think on a menu, if the title of the menu item is "Escargots", then I would use dish and write around it, as Copyright mentioned, sort of.

    In other words, the Escargots is a dish consisting of XXX (usually a half-dozen*) in a blah-blah-blah sauce.

    *That was my own thought/info.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    “Escargots is/are snails cooked with garlic.”
    Escargots are edible snails; they're customarily cooked with garlic.

    They're snails even before they're cooked. ;) The word comes from French but it's an English word (add the American Heritage Dictionary to those that so list it). With an "s", it's plural.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Escargots are edible snails; they're customarily cooked with garlic.

    They're snails even before they're cooked.
    I wouldn't write "snails" on a menu.

    They are actually escargots before they are cooked.
    Are there snails that are not edible? :confused:
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Are there snails that are not edible? :confused:
    Yes, the ones in my garden that have dined on slug pellets rather than asparagus tips and pea seedlings. Returning to the question, has anybody actually said 'yes, “Escargots are snails cooked with garlic.” is grammatically correct?' Copyright said that 'is' and 'are' could both be correct, but I'm inclined to disagree with him. Given the context of explaining a menu:
    "Vichyssoise is a cold soup made with leeks, potatoes and cream." Pointing to Escargots de Bourgogne. “The escargots are snails cooked with garlic.”
    In that situation, I prefer the plural.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Yes, the ones in my garden that have dined on slug pellets rather than asparagus tips and pea seedlings.
    Well, anything poisoned in a garden by a human being trying to kill slugs should not be ingested, but that's not the topic. You might want to be careful with the fruits of your garden, if you use that stuff heavily.

    In American English, you will hear both "is" and "are" regarding escargots---just as Copyright said.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    . Returning to the question, has anybody actually said 'yes, “Escargots are snails cooked with garlic.” is grammatically correct?' Copyright said that 'is' and 'are' could both be correct, but I'm inclined to disagree with him. Given the context of explaining a menu:
    "Vichyssoise is a cold soup made with leeks, potatoes and cream." Pointing to Escargots de Bourgogne. “The escargots are snails cooked with garlic.”
    In that situation, I prefer the plural.
    I agree with this. Perhaps the proximity of the UK to France breeds more familiarity with French and an understanding that escargots is a plural form.(?) Similarly, I would use plural for "Croutons ___ small cubes of bread that have been deep fried."
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I wouldn't write "snails" on a menu.
    I wouldn't either, Perpend; nor would I expect to see it on a menu. The full definition in the AHD, specifically, is (for the singular) "an edible snail". It doesn't give the genus or species (there may be more than one used for the dish, although in my observation, they've always looked alike).
    Are there snails that are not edible? :confused:
    You bet—hundreds if not thousands of species, in the sea and on land. Like Andy, I have some living in my garden. I don't put out poison for the slugs, but I still wouldn't include any of those snails on my personal menu. I do collect their empty shells, though.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    [...] “Escargots is/are snails cooked with garlic” [...]
    Just because escargots constitute a dish, that doesn't make them singular. We wouldn't say "Grilled sardines is fish cooked ...", or "Strawberries is often served with cream", or "Muffins is cakes made with ...".

    So "He popped an escargot in his mouth", but "escargots are snails".

    By the way, mikichan, escargots aren't necessarily cooked with garlic. It's one popular way of preparing them, but there are plenty of recipes that involve cooking them in wine, or poultry stock, or hazelnut oil, or various other things without a hint of garlic. Mint, basil and other herbs are sometimes used. So "cooked with garlic" isn't part of the general definition of "escargots".

    Ws:)
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I could easily say, "Grilled Sardines with Vegetable Ratatouille is one of our most popular dishes." Or "Escargots with Herbed Butter and Basil Potatoes is a signature dish of the restaurant."

    Taking it a step further, "Escargots Andre is escargots sauteed in herbed butter and white wine, served on a bed of basil potatoes and accompanied by grilled white asparagus."
     
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    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    I could easily say, "Grilled Sardines with Vegetable Ratatouille is one of our most popular dishes." Or "Escargots with Herbed Butter and Basil Potatoes is a signature dish of the restaurant."

    Taking it a step further, "Escargots Andre is escargots sauteed in herbed butter and white wine, served on a bed of basil potatoes and accompanied by grilled white asparagus."
    I could easily say your first two, ©-man, and the clue lies in the capitals. In each case the whole phrase is clearly a title, representing one thing, and the singular character is reinforced by "is one of" and "is a signature dish".

    It's like "Jacques Dupont's The Famous Sights of Paris is the best book on the subject" — but you wouldn't say "If you go to France, the famous sights of Paris is not to be missed"!

    Escargots André is a marginal case for me. Yes, it's a title, and if the sentence were "Escargots André is an excellent dish ..." I'd happily say it. However, in your sentence, "Escargots André is escargots [plural] ..." sounds as odd to me as "French fries is potatoes ...". That's probably because the dominant influence is the combination of plural subject + plural complement, so I hear "André" as a simple modifier in a plural phrase, and I would say "Escargots André are escargots sautéed in ...".

    In mikichan's original sentence, it doesn't sound like an obvious 'title' of a particular dish (as you suggested in #2). It's just the word "escargots", so for me it's squarely in the camp of "Muffins are cakes": "Escargots are snails". That said, in an environment where not everyone would necessarily recognise "escargots" as a plural (China perhaps), the use of "is" probably wouldn't shock — but then neither would "are", so on balance I'd still go for "Escargots are snails".

    Ws:)
     
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