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Which one is correct?
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kl



Joined: 12 May 2006
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject: Which one is correct? Reply with quote

Recently, when I read a grammer book I came across a sentence" Would you like to drink a cup of tea?". When I saw this sentence, I thought it was grammatically correct and acceptable. However, the author said that the sentence should be stated as " I would like a cup of tea." I am a little confused because I don't quite understand why the former one is not correct. Would you please help me? Thank you a lot Very Happy
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JuanTwoThree



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 947
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Googling for spoken English is obviously a bit dangerous but as a question

"Would you like to drink a cup of tea?"

may be "grammatical" but googles a mere 6 times presumably because the "to drink" is redundant. Unless that's what the writer meant. People just don't say it so its correctness is an abstraction.

In the same way

"I would like to drink a cup of tea"

gets one hit!

Mind you "I would like a cup of tea" only gets 235 hits, which is not much better. When would one say it?

"Tea?" "Yes please" or "Tea, please" as ways of offering, accepting and requesting, followed by "How do you like it?" or some such seem more realistic.

Which grammar book? With invented examples that nobody uses leading to "rules" that will never be applied?
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WienSam



Joined: 03 Jun 2006
Posts: 23
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The author is not conveying the message correctly. How can a question be an answer? In any event, one would drop the 'to drink' as it is a given. What else can you do with a cup of tea? Wear it? Talk to it? Hit it? However, you could 'make' one! I'll take mine Earl Grey with 2 sugars and a little milk please Wink
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lolwhites



Joined: 16 Jul 2003
Posts: 1321
Location: France

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 9:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Grammaticaly correct" it may be, but it certainly isn't acceptable. Why include to drink? What else are you going to do with a cup of tea? What's the semantic content of to drink here? Like Juan points out, it adds nothing to the question.

You might want to consider Grice's Conversational Maxims. The sentence Would you like to drink a cup of tea violates the maxim of quantity by giving more information than is necessary and so would disorientate the listener.

http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~cfbxb/class/1900/prag/grice.htm
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Would you like to drink that cup of tea?"
is of course, perfectly correcti, but it is no more an offer than
Your tea's getting cold." is a comment on the ambient temperature.

Both are thinly veiled reproaches for your not bothering to drink the tea you've already accepted, and the use of either phrase is likely to end a beautiful acquaintanceship.
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orlandoiam



Joined: 04 Aug 2005
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 4:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

let me precede by stating i've only begun thinking of these things...and i don't have my Masters yet but the longer I teach the more these "things of speech" seem to be getting under my skin.

not even sure why it matters... but also perhaps, " Would you want to drink a cup of tea?" Perhaps this is "softening" the asking, like if you were speaking to someone who is upset or sick, perhaps we lengthen the statement or become "redundant" in order to lessen our encroachment on the person.

thus length becames a means to soothe.

or maybe the grammar book said it was incorrect because it's physically impossible to drink a "cup." but, like i said...no Masters yet.
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JuanTwoThree



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 947
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jun 04, 2006 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exact phrase match "would you want to drink a cup of tea" gets no hits. It sounds more like imitation Oirish than anything that might actually get said.

But we're none the wiser and working with very little because obviously

"when I read a grammer book I came across a sentence" Would you like to drink a cup of tea?". When I saw this sentence, I thought it was grammatically correct and acceptable. However, the author said that the sentence should be stated as " I would like a cup of tea."

is garbled. What the author of the "grammer book" was trying to say was probably what the chorus of voices has been driving at, for all we know.
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Zimmermann



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 2:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the answer to your question has to do with collocation - words that we commonly use together and the way we say things. Nothing to do with grammar.

When i was learning English as a second language, there were many occasions where my Australian wife could not explain why we say things in a certain way. We just do. I learned to be less analytical about language and just accept these collocations. I suggest you do the same.

As a native speaker you normally know when something sounds right or not. Even as a non-native speaker I now know when something is right or wrong, but I don't always know why. I picked up a lot of English collocations and expressions without thinking about it.

Luke Zimmermann
englishwithluke.com
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think the answer to your question has to do with collocation - words that we commonly use together and the way we say things. Nothing to do with grammar.
I don't think the problem here is a matter of collocation.
"drink a cup of tea" is ten times less common than "have a cup of tea" (27,000 hits to 260,000), but it is still a common collocation.
The reason the phrase is wrong is, as lolwhites says, that it goes against one of Grice's maxims.
Look at these frequencies from Google
"Would you like a cup of tea?" 23,300
"Would you like to have a cup of tea?" 55
"Would you like to drink a cup of tea?" 6
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Zimmermann



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But that is exactly what a collocation is. The collocation "have a cup of tea" is much stronger than "drink a cup of tea". Although i don't know Grice's maxims, there seems to be no contradiction. They support each other.
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 18 May 2003
Posts: 1422

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2006 10:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The collocation "have a cup of tea" is much stronger than "drink a cup of tea"
Agreed, but that is not what the OP is about.

It is why the phrase "Would you like to drink a cup of tea?" is almost never used in English (a total of three native speaker quotes on the whole internet), and the same can be said of "Would you like to have a cup of tea?", which is a whopping five hundred times less common than "Would you like a cup of tea?".

Lolwhites gives a link to Grice's maxims.
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pikawicca



Joined: 09 Jun 2004
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:21 am    Post subject: would you like to drink tea Reply with quote

We would never say this in American English, but we would say: Would you like to have lunch/dinner/breakfast? (NEVER: would you like to EAT...) I think this is a collocation issue.
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JuanTwoThree



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 947
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Collocations cannot be explained by ratiocination whereas "eat lunch" or "I would like to drink a cup of tea" contain redundancy and go against logic.

Nobody anywhere says "Would you like to eat lunch?" (84 negligible hits). That's because it's silly, not because it doesn't collocate.
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Zimmermann



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 10
Location: Gold Coast, Australia

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I don't agree with that, Juan. There is nothing silly about "eating lunch". In fact in many Asian languages and in my native Dutch you "eat lunch", you don't "have lunch". And that is exactly what a collocation is. It is a combination of words that commonly occur together. So in Dutch the collocation is "eat lunch" and "make photos" whereas in English it's "have lunch" and "take photos".

The other issue that has come up about language containing redundancy and going against logic, bothers me a bit. There is a lot of redundancy in English (and other languages too). We always have to use personal pronouns whereas in many Asian language you can omit it if it is clear from the context. Another example that comes to mind are short answers such "Yes, I do", "No, I'm not" and so on. Again in Dutch and many other languages just a yes or no is enough.
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JuanTwoThree



Joined: 14 Sep 2004
Posts: 947
Location: Spain

PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes but there is no particular or logical reason why "take photos" is used and "make photos" is not. It just is. That's a collocation.

Of course there is redundancy but English is a relatively lean language and we seem to favour "joker" words when possible. That's why, I think, we use "have lunch/do lunch/ have a beer/do judo (rather than practise) and so on. These are subtly different from "it just is".

BTW It's complicated to go into and anyway I don't really understand it much but I wonder if echoing the original auxiliary of a polar question in the answer is strictly redundant. It's more to do with speaking turns and showing interest.
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