I'll have a soup / I'll have a soup / I'll have soup

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usingenglish

Senior Member
Spain,spanish
Hello.

In a restaurant how do we say?

- I'll have a soup.
- I'll have a soup.
- I'll have soup.

Thanks.
 
  • El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Ideally, since soup is not considered countable, you would say either "I'll have soup, please" or "I'll have some soup".

    However:

    If there is one soup option on a restaurant menu, people will often say "I'll have the soup" (which is OK since there is only one type of soup available).

    Occasionally people might say "I'll have a soup" as a form of shorthand way of saying "a portion of soup", but I think that's far less common, and best avoided from a learner's point of view.

    EDIT: please read this post in conjunction with post #5 below
     
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    curlyboy20

    Senior Member
    Peruvian Spanish.
    Very well explained. Soup is not a countable noun (like you don't say a soup, two soups, 3 soups) but soemtimes people might say "I'll have a soup". I'd say, "I'll have some soup" but if I want to be specific as to what kind of soup I want to order, I'd say, "I'll have that soup" or "I'll have this soup"
     

    Transatlantic

    Member
    srpskohrvatski; English
    Actually, it's not a countable noun in most senses, but it is in sentences like, "They had five different soups on the menu.", meaning "five different kinds of soup."
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Actually, it's not a countable noun in most senses, but it is in sentences like, "They had five different soups on the menu.", meaning "five different kinds of soup."
    You're quite right: soup is of course perfectly countable when talking about different varieties. And, having taken the order, the waitress might then report back to the chef: "Two soups [and three salads]". What one can't say is, for example "I'm making a soup", or "I ate a soup for lunch".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    You're quite right: soup is of course perfectly countable when talking about different varieties. And, having taken the order, the waitress might then report back to the chef: "Two soups [and three salads]". What one can't say is, for example "I'm making a soup", or "I ate a soup for lunch".
    We don't often disagree, EE, but did you really mean to say we can't say 'I'm making a soup'? I say it quite a lot, particularly now the pound's so weak. I could easily say 'I'm making two soups': a friend of mine has a child who loves home-made soup but is, like most children with their sensitive taste-buds, very fussy about flavour. When they come I often make two soups.
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Maybe it's regional. I would say "I'm making soup" or "I'm making a pot of soup". I can't imagine myself ever saying "I'm making a soup".

    To the extent that you - and presumably others - do so, I of course withdraw the statement that one "can't" say it.

    I reserve judgment on the question of "two soups" - I'm sure it's correct but it's way beyond my culinary abilities ever to have attempted to make two at once.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I suspect it may have to do with how often one cooks. I cook all the time, so I wouldn't naturally say 'I'm making soup' because that suggests that one soup is very like another for me.

    On the other hand, I rarely make bread and could easily say 'I'm making bread'. If I was fond of making bread and made it often and made different kinds, I can imagine saying 'I'm making a bread', which now sounds odd to me, as you say 'I'm making a soup' does to you.

    Just in case you wondered, I'm absolutely not trying to be rude about your soup-making.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Like Thomas, I make soup often.
    I have no objections to make a soup, though it's not what I'd most likely say most of the time.

    In the restaurant, I would not order a soup or have a soup, though by the time it gets to the kitchen I am sure it has become a soup, or one of a number of soups in our order :) (as in post #5).
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    Just in case you wondered, I'm absolutely not trying to be rude about your soup-making.
    If you tasted it, you might.

    I don't have to tell anyone - least of all you, TT - that it all boils down to what one is used to saying and/or hearing. Perhaps I think of soup as a liquid - I cannot refer to "a milk", for example - whereas if I thought of it as a foodstuff, a type of cooked product - like sauces and stews - I might be able to imagine it with an indefinite article.

    But equally, I would never say "a bread", I would always say "I'm baking a loaf of bread" - or simply, "I'm baking bread".

    Perhaps I should just stay out of the kitchen, happen it's too hot for me.
     

    Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Like TT and Panj, I could imagine myself saying "I'm making a soup". When I would be likely to say it, however, is if there was originally some question about what I'm taking to the potluck. Suzy is bringing a salad, Jane is bringing a dessert and I'm bringing a soup.
     

    Egoexpress

    Senior Member
    Hungary, Hungarian
    I am wondering if the following one can be applied to what you have said.
    At a pub - May a I have a beer? to mean that you'd like to have a pint of it?

    Thank you!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi usingenglish,

    The first two look identical to me. Is there a secret way to tell them apart?
    Yes, I was intrigued by that, too.

    I was wondering if the OP wanted to contrast:
    I'll have a soup
    I'll have some soup
    I'll have soup

    ...
     

    foucrazyfoucrazy

    Senior Member
    English, Canada
    I think the confusion here is that you can say you are making a soup, but in a restaurant you would not ask for a soup, you would ask for a bowl of soup, unless you want the entire soup the restaurant is making.

    I wonder whether that helped clear up the confusion, or just made it more confusing :p I assure you, my intention was the former.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)

    Thomas Veil

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Yes, I was intrigued by that, too.

    I was wondering if the OP wanted to contrast:
    I'll have a soup
    I'll have some soup
    I'll have soup

    ...
    Or perhaps "I'll have the soup". This would be a common answer to the question "Do you want soup or salad?"
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    While when I'm cooking I might well say 'I'm making a soup', I wouldn't say in a restaurant 'I'll have a soup' unless there were several on the menu - and even then I'd probably say 'I'll have one of the soups'.

    Before going to the restaurant, discussing what we would like, before seeing the menu, 'I'd like a soup' would be as entirely normal as it would be to me in the kitchen.
     

    El escoces

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    While when I'm cooking I might well say 'I'm making a soup', I wouldn't say in a restaurant 'I'll have a soup' unless there were several on the menu - and even then I'd probably say 'I'll have one of the soups'.

    Before going to the restaurant, discussing what we would like, before seeing the menu, 'I'd like a soup' would be as entirely normal as it would be to me in the kitchen.
    This is clearly simply a question of personal usage or preference. For once, it's not a BrE/AmE split! I would never use "like a soup" or "have one of the soups", but as I said before it's just a question of what you're used to saying. TT includes soup in the category of items with which the indefinite article is used, and I have been very interested to discover that some people do that.
     

    Junwei Guo

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    We don't often disagree, EE, but did you really mean to say we can't say 'I'm making a soup'? I say it quite a lot, particularly now the pound's so weak. I could easily say 'I'm making two soups': a friend of mine has a child who loves home-made soup but is, like most children with their sensitive taste-buds, very fussy about flavour. When they come I often make two soups.
    Hi, Thomas~ What do you mean by "pound"?
    Thank you
     

    Junwei Guo

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yes, it's possible. The intended meaning is "A bowl of chicken soup, please".
    Thanks!
    Which one is more common when we order the kind of soup:
    1. "a bowl of chicken soup, please"
    2. "a chicken soup, please"
    Thanks!
    I seem to be the only one who says 'Soup, please', or if there's a choice – 'Artichoke soup, please', or 'A cup/bowl of minestrone, please'.

    The server's never offended by my failure to articulate a complete and grammatical sentence.
    Can I just say "minestone, please"?:)
    Thanks!
     

    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Hi, if I buy a lot of cans of the same kind and brand of soup and put them in a kitchen. Then others see them and say "Canned soups are bad for you." Can I use soups as plural here because there are many cans? Thanks.
     

    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    Can I use soups as plural here because there are many cans?
    Yes, you can use the plural here, but no, it would not be because there are many cans.
    You would use the plural because you are generalizing to all kinds of canned soup. You can do this even though there is only one kind of soup on the table. You could do this even if you had bought only one can.
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    In that context I'd expect "Canned soup is bad for you".

    There may be many cans, but the reference is to canned soup in general, not to any specific cans.

    On the other hand, if you'd bought cans of different brands or types, "Canned soups are..." could work. I suppose it could also work with the same brand and type, as in your example, but I think the uncountable "soup" is better there.
     
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    Super Saiyan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    Thanks, if you are in a store and on a shelf, you see the staff cans of same brand and types. Can I say ‘the staff is putting a lot of can soups on the shelf.’ ? I want to know whether soups can take plural because there are a lot of cans.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    I want to know whether soups can take plural because there are a lot of cans.
    It depends on context and the level of formality/informality.

    In the context you gave, it would be better to say:

    The staff are putting a lot of cans of soup on the shelf.
    The staff are putting a lot of soup on the shelf.
    [This is a bit open to humorous interpretation.]
    Supervisor's instruction to shelf-filler: Put those soups on shelf 57. [This is a concise way of telling the employee what to do - no need for full 'correctness'.

    Also:
    The staff are putting several types of soup on the shelf.
    That store has a great range of soups on offer at the moment.
    ['Soups' to indicate several different types of soup.]

    The customer picked up a can of soup. :tick:
    The customer picked up a soup. :warning:

    In the restaurant, I ordered a tea, two coffees, a soup, some bread, and a double-whiskey.
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    I want to know whether soups can take plural because there are a lot of cans.
    No. Certainly "a lot of can soups" sounds odd to me. I'd say "a lot of canned soup {singular because we treat this as a mass noun}". Pluralizing that would work, but only if the intended meaning is a lot of varieties of canned soup. If you want to focus on there being many cans, then it is the word "can", not "soup", that you want to make plural: I would change it to "a lot of soup cans" (or, better, as Linkway said, "a lot of cans of soup".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I am wondering if the following one can be applied to what you have said.
    At a pub - May a I have a beer? to mean that you'd like to have a pint of it?

    Thank you!
    Beer seems to be a special case that brings emotions to the argument.

    Strictly speaking, "I'll have four beers" means that you want four different brands, or types of beer.

    "I'll have four beer" is the "correct" form, as shortened form of "four bottles/glasses/pitchers/of beer."

    "Aspirin" is another case that creates arguments. Strictly speaking it is not "I'll take two aspirins", it should be "I'll take two aspirin [tablets]", but "aspirin tablets" is a form that is rarely used and you won't hear many people saying "I'll take two aspirin".
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    AE (US English)
    "Aspirin" is another case that creates arguments. Strictly speaking it is not "I'll take two aspirins", it should be "I'll take two aspirin [tablets]"
    If "an aspirin" means "an aspiran tablet" (which it does to most people, I think), then "I'll take two aspirins" is correct, and means the same as "I'll take two aspirin tablets".
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If "an aspirin" means "an aspiran tablet" (which it does to most people, I think), then "I'll take two aspirins" is correct, and means the same as "I'll take two aspirin tablets".
    I disagree. It is verging off-topic so I won't pursue it here. But I do disagree.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I agree with Edinburgher that you can say "canned soups are bad for you" if you are conceiving of all the different soups made by all the different manufacturers. It's basically saying there is no significant difference between manufacturers or styles.

    "Canned soup is bad for you" is also possible, as a description of an entire category of food.

    Neither has anything to do with whether you currently possess 1000 cans of soup or one can of soup or no cans of soup. It's a reference to a general condition of life (as perceived by that speaker).
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    Beer seems to be a special case that brings emotions to the argument.

    Strictly speaking, "I'll have four beers" means that you want four different brands, or types of beer.

    "I'll have four beer" is the "correct" form, as shortened form of "four bottles/glasses/pitchers/of beer."

    "Aspirin" is another case that creates arguments. Strictly speaking it is not "I'll take two aspirins", it should be "I'll take two aspirin [tablets]", but "aspirin tablets" is a form that is rarely used and you won't hear many people saying "I'll take two aspirin".
    To me, 'I'll have four beers' is exactly what I would say if I'm standing at the bar ordering for myself and three friends at the table over there. I'd follow it with details: how many bottles of which brand.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    To me, 'I'll have four beers' is exactly what I would say if I'm standing at the bar ordering for myself and three friends at the table over there. I'd follow it with details: how many bottles of which brand.
    Beer/Beers should follow the fish/fishes format. It doesn't because there are more drunk beer drinkers than drunk fish eaters. :)
     
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