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Is steak, hamburger

Discussion in '英語勉強フォーラム - Learning English' started by hirashin, Apr 21, 2018.

  1. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    Dear native English speakers,
    which sentences would be used?
    (1a) I had steak for dinner last night.
    (1b) I had a steak for dinner last night.
    (1c) I had some steak for dinner last night.

    (2a) I usually have steak for dinner on weekends.
    (2b) I usually have a steak for dinner on weekends.
    (2c) I usually have steaks for dinner on weekends.

    (3a) I had beef for dinner last night.
    (3b) I had a beef for dinner last night. [I suppose this is incorrect.]
    (3c) I had some beef for dinner last night.

    [Do you ever say "beef steak"? Or just "steak" would be better?]

    (4a) I had hamburger for lunch today. [I suppose this is incorrect.]
    (4b) I had a hamburger for lunch today.
    (4c) I had some hamburger for lunch today.

    (5a) I usually have cake after lunch.
    (5b) I usually have a cake after lunch.
    (5c) I usually have some cake after lunch.
    (5d) I usually have a piece of cake after lunch.

    (6a) He doesn't have/eat any meat.
    (6b) He doesn't have/eat any meats.
    (6c) He doesn't have/eat meat.
    (6d) He doesn't have/eat meats.

    Thanks in advance.
    Hirashin

    P.S. The title is incomplete. It should be "Are these words countable nouns?"
     
  2. JuliMaruchan

    JuliMaruchan Sempai

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    "Beef" wouldn't likely be said as if it's a meal. If you're talking about steak, "steak" would almost invariably be used. Cubed steak is similarly pretty much always "cubed steak". Other beef-based foods usually have beef as an ingredient, not an entire dish.

    "Beef steak" would be used if you have a particular need to clarify that it's beef steak (as opposed to e.g. pork steak), but usually you don't need to do that.

    You're right that 3b and 4a are incorrect. 4c too. One minor note: some people use "hamburger" to mean "ground beef" (much to my chagrin, especially because some of these people don't even know the term "ground beef"). When people use the word "hamburger" like that, they do so in the manner than 4a and 4c are constructed, but at the same time it's not likely for someone to say that they had ground beef for lunch (ground beef is usually thought of as an ingredient, not a dish).

    5a-5d are all grammatically correct, though that would be quite an unhealthy habit. xD

    Regarding 6a-6d, they're all correct, but "to have" doesn't mean "to eat" in this context. It refers to possession. Also, the countable version of "meat" usually refers to types of meat, which incidentally doesn't matter much in this context, but can matter in others.
     
  3. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    Thank you for the help, Julimaruchan.
    In which case does "have" mean "eat/drink"?
    How about these?
    (6e) He usually doesn't have (any) meat (dishes). He's a vegan.
    (6f) He doesn't have (any) meat (dishes) for breakfast.

    One more question.
    Which sentences would sound right?
    (7a) He usually has coffee for lunch.
    (7b) He usually has coffee for his lunch.
    (7c) He usually has coffee in lunch.
    (7d) He usually has coffee in his lunch.
    (7e) He usually has coffee after lunch.
    (7f) He usually has coffee after his lunch.
     
  4. JuliMaruchan

    JuliMaruchan Sempai

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    All versions of 6e would definitely be using "to have" to indicate possession, because a vegan wouldn't ever eat meat. If you strip out the part about being a vegan, it might refer to eating in some contexts, in particular if it's understood that you're talking about meals.

    6f could be either possession or eating, depending on context.

    "Meat dishes" isn't a construct I'd particularly expect to see. It seems redundant, because if you're saying that someone doesn't eat meat, it's obvious that they don't eat dishes that have meat in them.

    7a and 7b sound like he's only drinking coffee at lunch time (and not eating anything). 7c is no good. 7d sounds like he's pouring coffee into something he's eating for lunch. No oddities with 7e or 7f, these two sound good.
     
  5. hirashin

    hirashin Sempai
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    Thanks, Julimaruchan.
     

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