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Thread: food or foods?

  1. #1
    Heidi is offline Member
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    Post food or foods?

    Dear friends,

    I have a question about the word 'food'.

    It says in dictionary that 'food' is used as a countable noun only to refer to one or more types food, for instance, she avoids processed foods.

    I was wondering if I like food that is fried, or steamed, food that is fried is a type of food? Do we usually say 'I like fried foods, or I like steamed foods?

    I've read an article recently. The writer said 'we like to try different kinds of food, enjoy each other's company, and have a short getaway from the stressful workplace for an hour'. Why didn't the writer say 'diffent kinds of foods'?

    Thank you!

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    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: food or foods?

    You could say I like fried food/foods IMO and the writer could have used the plural there too.

  3. #3
    Heidi is offline Member
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    Post Re: food or foods?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    You could say I like fried food/foods IMO and the writer could have used the plural there too.
    Thank you for your help, Tdol. But I'm still not very sure about the definition of type of food. When we say 'I like fried foods', the speaker is treating 'fried foods' as a type of food?
    Can we also treat Italian food as a type of food? If so, when people say that they like Italian foods, maybe they'er thinking about Chinese foods, Japanese foods, or French foods at the same time, they're making a comparasion? Would you please tell me if this concept of mine is correct?

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    EnglishRyan is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: food or foods?

    Hi Heidi,

    Please allow me to pipe in here a sec and share my 2 cents. I think your assumptions are mostly correct, however the phrase 'I like Italian foods' would not be referring to Italian food among groups of other international cuisines, it would be referring to groups of food within Italian food (such as Italian pasta, Italian salads, Italian breads, ...). Most people would not use 'foods' in this manner, most likely grouping all Italian foods as one 'food'. So, a dialogue could perhaps be:

    ---
    A: What international foods do you like?

    B: I like various European foods.

    A: Really? And which European foods strike your fancy?

    B: Italian, definitely. I have always liked Italian food.
    ---

    Any other instructors want to chime in on this question?

    Good luck, Heidi.

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    Heidi is offline Member
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    Default Re: food or foods?

    Thank you for releasing a lot of my confusion, EnglishRyan.
    (Do we say that about 'confusion'? Releasing confusion?)

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    Default Re: food or foods?

    No problem.

    Maybe you mean something like 'Thank you for clarifying this point'. I haven't heard too many people say 'release my confusion', perhaps 'dispel my confusion' would be better.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Heidi is offline Member
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    Default Re: food or foods?

    Thanks again, EnglishRyan.

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