Have you ever tried <the> Italian food?


Senior Member
Italian - Italy
Hello everybody!

I'm pretty doubtful about chosing the correct phrase between these two ones:

Have you ever tried Italian food?

Have you ever tried THE Italian food?

Should I omit the definitive article in this case?


  • e2efour

    Senior Member
    UK English
    You should omit the article unless, for example, there is Italian food on one table and Greek food on the other (i.e. you have a choice).

    We also talk about Italian cuisine (normally without the).



    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, if you wanted to use “the” you’d have to explain why by specifying which specific food you meant (as opposed to Italian food in general):

    Have you ever tried the Italian food …
    they’re famous for in Sicily? / my grandmother makes? / at Papa Gianni’s down the road?​


    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The confusing thing is that "food" can be either a countable or a non-countable (mass) noun.

    When you talk about food in general, it is not countable and does not take an article. (Using an adjective such as "Italian" with it does not affect the general idea.) We say "I like food," or "we need food in order to survive."

    When you talk about specific foods, they are usually countable: "We need many foods in our diet," "The best food in Scotland is found in Edinburgh*," or "The Italian food is better than the Greek food in this restaurant." In this case, when "food" is singular it needs an article (or some other determiner).

    *This is an example of grammar, not a statement about Scottish cuisine. I have no idea whether or not it is actually true, though I have had several good meals in that city.
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