Czenglish

2 wines vs. 2 glasses of wine

19. 10. 2020

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WRONG: Last night, I drank 2 wines.
RIGHT: Last night, I drank 2 glasses of wine.

Uncountable nouns are a tricky area, as they differ in English and Czech – especially when we’re talking about drinks.

Coffee and tea can be both countable and uncountable. When you are talking generally, we use ‘tea’ or ‘coffee’, but when you are talking about specific cups of them, we use a plural.

For example, “I like coffee more than tea. In a normal day, I drink 3 coffees and 1 tea.”

The same is true of beer. “I like beer. Last night I drank 4 beers.” It works because the listener knows you mean 4 glasses of beer/bottles of beer, which is basically the same amount. It doesn’t work with wine because if you say “Last night, I drank 2 wines”, the listener doesn’t know if you are talking about glasses or bottles – and here, there is a big difference!

You have to say, “Last night, I drank 2 glasses of wine.” Or if you did drink two bottles, say you drank 2 bottles of wine.

And don’t say “It damaged my livers!” In English, liver is singular, we only have one! So, together – “Last night, I drank 2 bottles of wine and it has really damaged my liver.”

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