Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • German
      • Home Country:
      • Germany
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Feb 2007
    • Posts: 177
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #1

    We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    In a German cookery forum somebody asked why in English we write 'cheesecake' as one word, but 'chocolate cake' as two words. I thought it's a piece of cake. I just look it up in one of my dictionaries and Bob's your uncle. But after reading the entries in three different dictionaries I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew.

    So I consulted Michael Swan's 'Practical English Usage' and Raymond Murphy's 'English Grammar in Use' and from what I read and understood about 'noun + noun' the answer to the question seems to be: 'That's the way the cookie crumbles'.

    What do you English teachers think? Am I a smart cookie or is this post just taking the biscuit?

    TomUK

  1. Raymott's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Australia
      • Current Location:
      • Australia

    • Join Date: Jun 2008
    • Posts: 23,251
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomUK View Post
    In a German cookery forum somebody asked why in English we write 'cheesecake' as one word, but 'chocolate cake' as two words. I thought it's a piece of cake. I just look it up in one of my dictionaries and Bob's your uncle.
    You can't use "Bob's your uncle" like this. The context requires you to say, "I thought I could just look it up in a dictionary, and Bob would be my uncle." But this is not idiomatic.

    But after reading the entries in three different dictionaries I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew.
    Then Bob can't be your uncle yet.

    So I consulted Michael Swan's 'Practical English Usage' and Raymond Murphy's 'English Grammar in Use' and from what I read and understood about 'noun + noun' the answer to the question seems to be: 'That's the way the cookie crumbles'.

    What do you English teachers think? Am I a smart cookie or is this post just taking the biscuit?

    TomUK
    I assume you'd give quite a bit of dough to know the answer. But I don't want to appear to be pudding forward half-baked answers.
    Last edited by Raymott; 24-Aug-2011 at 00:32.

  2. Hedwig's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Spanish
      • Home Country:
      • Argentina
      • Current Location:
      • Argentina

    • Join Date: Jul 2011
    • Posts: 518
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    I think I'm ready to cook supper after these posts. Not the healthy salad Id' planned, though.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 6,265
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #4

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by TomUK View Post
    In a German cookery forum somebody asked why in English we write 'cheesecake' as one word, but 'chocolate cake' as two words. I thought it's a piece of cake. I just look it up in one of my dictionaries and Bob's your uncle. But after reading the entries in three different dictionaries I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew.

    So I consulted Michael Swan's 'Practical English Usage' and Raymond Murphy's 'English Grammar in Use' and from what I read and understood about 'noun + noun' the answer to the question seems to be: 'That's the way the cookie crumbles'.

    What do you English teachers think? Am I a smart cookie or is this post just taking the biscuit?

    TomUK

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) Your post and the replies were very humorous and entertaining. Thank you.

    (2) After checking my dictionaries and the Web, I think that the term in question

    has gone through the same process that has affected many other words:

    (a) First, it was indeed spelled cheese cake.

    (b) Then it became cheese-cake.

    (c) Finally, cheesecake.

  3. konungursvia's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • Canada
      • Current Location:
      • Canada

    • Join Date: Mar 2009
    • Posts: 5,124
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #5

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    Even if an authority dared to make a rule, he would be overstepping his authority. The real reasons are normative, i.e. what the community is used to, so distilling it into a principle would be rather false.

    Perhaps cheesecloth existed for long enough to make cheesecake look right. Whereas chocolate teapot and chocolate egg and chocolate bunny indicated otherwise.

  4. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,035
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #6

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ... the term in question

    has gone through the same process that has affected many other words:

    (a) First, it was indeed spelled cheese cake.

    (b) Then it became cheese-cake.

    (c) Finally, cheesecake.
    For this reason, I used to keep several generations of the same dictionary (much to the distress of MrsK). My favourite example is the female blackbird (which is not a black bird; it is brown).

    b

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 52,311
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #7

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    Could it be that there are many different types of chocolate cake, but cheesecake is somehow more homogeneous?

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 18,884
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #8

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    All I can really say is, I need to find my recipe for chocolate cheesecake. It had diabetics 100 yards away dropping into comas, but it sure was good. One secret was to put Keebler Elves (chocolate sandwhich cookies with chocolate cream filling) into a food processor to form crumbs used to make the crust.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Apr 2009
    • Posts: 11,818
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #9

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    I think if you spell it without a space, cheesecake has fewer calories.

  6. BobK's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK

    • Join Date: Jul 2006
    • Posts: 16,035
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #10

    Re: We write cheesecake, but chocolate cake. Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    All I can really say is, I need to find my recipe for chocolate cheesecake. It had diabetics 100 yards away dropping into comas, but it sure was good. One secret was to put Keebler Elves (chocolate sandwhich cookies with chocolate cream filling) into a food processor to form crumbs used to make the crust.
    The Br English translation would be Bourbon biscuits (pronounced like the dynasty not the drink). Sounds good

    b

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. [General] Any cake / whichever cake
    By jiaruchan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-Feb-2010, 15:46
  2. About chocolate
    By luzineia in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-May-2009, 23:56
  3. chocolate
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 12-May-2008, 02:57
  4. hot chocolate
    By chum in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 18-Jan-2007, 04:40
  5. hot chocolate
    By chum in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 17-Jan-2007, 09:41

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •