turn on the stovetop/cooktop/hob / stove?

takiakos76

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hi!
If I want to put something on an electric cooktop and turn it on to cook it, what do I say? I'll...
- turn on the cooktop
- turn on the hob
- turn on the stovetop
- turn on the stove

google ngram only finds this last one, but the stove means the oven and the cooktop together, right? So that would suggest that I turned them on both...?
Can I use the first three as well, regardless of the google ngram result?
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    but the stove means the oven and the cooktop together, right?
    Although most stoves also contain an oven, to turn on the stove generally refers to turning on one of the burners*. People generally use to turn on the oven in their references to ovens.

    *You can also use burner normally: I'll turn this burner on and heat the oil up. No matter whether it shows up on Google or not, to turn on the range is also a fairly common way to express the idea in U.S. English. I don't often hear cooktop over here, but it is easy to understand. Stovetop also makes sense, of course.
     
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    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    American English (New England and NYC)
    I agree with owlman5; I'd say 'burner.' I use 'cooktop,' 'range,' and 'stove' to mean the whole set of burners and the surface into which they are set.

    To me, a cooktop is a new-fangled device with four burners that is installed on a counter; it doesn't have an oven underneath. Ranges and stoves have ovens under them.
     

    Wordy McWordface

    Senior Member
    English - SSBE Standard British
    Hi!
    If I want to put something on an electric cooktop and turn it on to cook it, what do I say? I'll...
    - turn on the cooktop
    - turn on the hob
    - turn on the stovetop
    - turn on the stove

    google ngram only finds this last one, but the stove means the oven and the cooktop together, right? So that would suggest that I turned them on both...?
    Can I use the first three as well, regardless of the google ngram result?
    Here's a British perspective, which is (as you'd expect) not the same as an AmE perspective:

    - turn on the cooktop
    Sorry, but I've never heard the term 'cooktop'.

    - turn on the hob
    In BrE, the hob is a set of either gas burners or electric rings at counter height. You could say 'turn on the hob', but that seems to suggest switching on the entire hob from the wall. If I wanted to boil one pan of water, for example, I'd maybe light one of the burners (gas) or switch on one of the rings (electric).

    - turn on the stovetop
    'Stovetop' isn't a term I'd use, but I understand it to be equivalent to a hob, so the same applies as above.

    - turn on the stove
    A 'stove' is the whole cooking appliance, including the oven, grill, and (if integrated) also the hob. In BrE, this whole appliance can also be called a cooker. As with 'turn on the hob', I might understand 'turn on the stove' to mean switch on the current for the entire appliance at the wall. If it was clear from the context that we were talking about setting it to heat up, I would understand 'turn on the stove' to mean 'turn on the oven'. I wouldn't use 'stove' as a synonym of 'stovetop'/'hob'.
     
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    takiakos76

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Thank you very much for your answers!

    One thing that's not quite clear to me: if it's an electric cooktop, and has these rings, not actual gas burners, can/should I still say I'll turn on the burner?
    images
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Really, we don't generally refer to turning on burners/rings/hotplates at all. It is not like an oven that needs to be pre-heated, so recipes often have an instruction all on its own to turn on the oven, so that by the time all the other preparations have been done and the food is ready to go into the oven, the oven is hot.

    With pans on a hob, we usually just say to boil, simmer, fry, sauté or whatever. We might use "on a low heat" or something like that, but I cannot think when we would ever say to turn on a burner or hotplate. There might be an instruction to turn the burner/ring/hotplate off, though, so the thing can continue cooking in its own residual heat, but here we can simply use "turn off the heat", without using a word like "burner" or "hotplate".
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The one context I can think of is if you are cooking with another person and you have set something out to be prepared ahead of time, something in a pot with water, and the time comes to start it cooking, you might say "turn on the burner for the peas". But you'd probably just say "Please turn on the peas" or something like that.

    I'd call it a burner even if it was electric. The other option in AE is "heating element", and that's not very practical. We don't say hob. We don't say ring.
     
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