« Self-Learning? | Main | One or many? »

Comments

Rick

I don't think Americans or Canadians would ever say "I shot three deers." Damn plurals.

Thomas

you do not say "beers". Yes,I know that everyone does but you can't compare "Coke" with "beer". They are not the same type of word. What kind of english teacher says that "beers" is correct english. You might as well post a whole website telling people that "deers" is correct.

Jeff

Beers is incorrect. When you say "I would like 3 beers." Really what you are saying is that you would like 3 bottles/glasses of beer. The number is talking about what is holding the liquid, not the liquid itself. So no, the plural for beer is not beers... it is simply beer.

Crawford Kilian

What a controversial topic this one has turned into!

We should remember that the same word can change its meaning depending on the context. "Hunting" can be a verb (He is hunting for his book), a noun (Hunting is a popular recreation), or an adjective (He owns a hunting rifle).

In the case of beer (pun not intended!), we have both the substance and the units by which it is consumed, or the varieties of drink we call beer:
Beer is a popular alcoholic beverage.
We had two beers before dinner. (Canadians would usually say "We had two beer before dinner.")
The restaurant has a good selection of imported beers from Europe and Asia.

In a similar way, we can say:
He cruised the ocean for a year.
He cruised the oceans of the world for a year.
He cruised the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans for a year.

(By the way—note that we capitalize Atlantic Ocean, but when we list a number of named geographical features we don't capitalize the term they all share.)

Moke

Very interesting, well as far as I understand it I'm with the official response and Crawford... Being an avid fan of beer in general and many different beers, as well as being reasonably literate and living in Canada, this has been quite the contested topic between myself and non-Torontonian freinds. (Not that some people in toronto dont say 'beer' as plural.)

Otherwise, quite interesting, odd that there didn't seem to be anything reffering to the plural on dictionary.com

Linguist

Nonsense. As a Canadian who grew up outside Canada, speaking British English, but also as a linguist and English teacher, I would certainly say "I've had three beers tonight", just like I would say "I've already had three coffees" (and not "three coffee"). I know many Canadians say "three beer", but that doesn't mean everyone (and even "everyone here") does! I don't, yet I'm equally Canadian as people that do.

James Brokeback

The plural of beer is beers. Learn to speak English. Please.:D

Skipjack

I'm Canadian, I would say "I drank three beers" (although I know one person who says it "beer").

More importantly, I do prefer American brewpops. Not that macro swill, but their microbrew selection put us to shame. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA? Can I get a hell yeah!

Rob

I agree that it is NOT beers. but saying "i had three beer" sounds wrong too. it is also wrong to say " i had three waters" or "i had three water". you would say "i had three glasses/cups/etc of water(not 's')"

so next time say "I had three bottles/cans of beer(not 's')

Put the plural on the container.

Marcus

Ok, this is getting under my skin. I don't think it's a Canadian thing. In Quebec, we all say 1 beer, 2 beers. That's it. My girlfriend says she got drunk off 8 beer. She's from Saskathewan though, and all her siblings say the same. Maybe it's a prairie thing ? Besides, I'm always the right one between us.

charles sanders

on dictionary.com it says i will have 3 beers. I personally switch from one to the other depending on who i am talking to and the setting i am in.

Josh

Colloquial speech is not fully consistent with "proper" speech. Use whichever you prefer or whichever your friends will give you the least hassle over.

The argument for plural of deer being deer does not necessarily apply to beer. Consider goose/geese and moose/moose.

"I know that it is a carton of cigarettes, but we tend to say case of beer and case of cokes."

Beer and other liquids can be mass nouns so we (usually) treat them a little differently than other nouns. When speaking of servings we add a plural marker if one exists, "I would like two waters" but say, "I drink water". Compare to examples without mass nouns, "I would like two pencils", "I use pencils", and "I bought two boxes of pencils."

There are probably exceptions, though.

Danny Haines

Just pronounce it with a distinctive Canadian accent and you can't help but find yourself saying "three beer".

"yeah me and da boys from Newfoundland went down to the bar and had a couple beer"

69KRISTEY69

Ok,I am from Toronto.Born and raised.And in Ontario,especially Toronto,we say "Beers" when we are having a chat about MORE than one Beer.Yes,a case of Beer is a case of Beer.1 Beer is called a "Beer". But as for 2,3,4,5,6,7,etc...they are called "Beers"And that is Proper English my Friends.But anyways..on to my little story..I lived in Toronto all my life until I moved to Nova Scotia.Where literacy is not abundant,and the People here think "Beer" is plural."I had me 10 Beer last night." Haha...sorry Mr. Boonie man..learn your Grammar,and language of Tongue before you open your Lobster trap.I swear...this whole "Beer" instead of "Beers" is a Nova Scotia thing..NOT a Canadian mistake.I've traveled all over Canada,and I have only heard this improper speech while on the the East Coast.

Patrickparadis.blogspot.com

do you ask for 3 water at a restaurant?

The_almighty_tubaking

@ Patrickparadis: "do you ask for 3 water at a restaurant?"

No... I ask for three glasses of water. And I don't ask for three glasses of beer at a bar, because I really don't care if it's in a glass or a mug or a stein or a friggin' shoe. I just wants me a beer. Three BEERS, because that's English.

Also...

@ 69KRISTEY69: I refuse to take any kind of English language advice from someone who refuses to place any kind of space before or after punctuation. That is all.

Account Deleted

Well, my doubt is still the same. If you native English people don´t agree with each other, imagine a person like me, trying to speak English. In my opinion WE CAN NOT COUNT LIQUIDS. That´s the way it should be. Who in this world could help me with this word? Doesn´t it matter if I say: two beers or two bottles/glasses of beer?
Thanks for your help.

Ivan J. Seelig from Brazil

Sr24 33

Beer is a mass noun and can not be pluralised, just like sheep, deer, water etc. When talking about beer in bottles or other containers it is generally accepted to say beers in reference to the container. More correct would be to pluralise the container it self such as, "we will have 3 bottles of beer" and not we will have 3 beers. Beers is also correct when referring to a variety of types. An example is "I like Canadian beers".

As for the jack ass from Toronto, I hope he takes that attitude to Nova Scotia and a Nova Scotian cracks a few bottles of beer over his head.

Crof

Amazing that a post from 2005 still draws commentary. Sr24 33, I'll have to disagree with you. We can certainly pluralize beer just as we pluralize fish or water: The beers of Nova Scotia, the fishes of the Caribbean, and the waters of Babylon.

In many Canadian dialects of English, one can go out hunting, shoot three deer, and celebrate by drinking six beer. But in other dialects, especially in the US, "beers" is preferred.

That's the usage I grew up with, but I respect other usages...especially after coming home from Newfoundland this evening, after ten days of listening to people saying "I likes beer."

c all

in most cases i think the plural of beer is "beers" .. just sounds better .... but i also agree that it depends on where i am drinking my beer(s) who i am with or how much "beer" or how many "beer(s)" i have had. thomas's argument seems conradictory, when a person asks for 3 "beers" it should be understood that he/she is asking for it to be in some type of container. or i could be saying that i want 3 beer(s) meaning i want a canadian, a blue and an ex.. ergo 3 different beers.

Rich

Three squids walked into a bar - one said I shot two deers, I was without fears and oh dear now I have agreed to pay for the beers!

Harry_shit

The reason 'beers' exists as a word is in order for us to describe different varieties of beers.

It is *exactly* the same as 'wine' and 'wines'.

If you said, "I'm having some wine with my dinner", you are indicating that hounded going to consume an unspecified quantity of wine.

If you said, "I'm having some wines with my dinner", the implication is that you will be drinking several different types of wine with your dinner.

'Beers' only works if: 1. There is no choice of beer in the establishment in which you are drinking, or 2. There is no choice of volume of serving in the establishment on which you are drinking.

'Beers' can be a plural but not whenever you want it to be.

'Footballs' indicates a number of inflated leather objects.
'Football' indicates a game, but can also indicate more than one game. 'The football results.'

'I'm going to watch the footballs results' is grammatically incorrect, even though 'footballs' can be a valid plural of 'football'.

'I drank three beers' is what people who don't understand subtleties say when they mean 'I drank three pints/litres/330ml servings of beer.'

Unless you mean you drank three types of beer. Which, let's face it, you don't.

I'm English, by the way.

Beergrains

Interesting discussion.

I suspect this is a case of what has become common use as opposed to the proper use of a plural. I view it as similar to fish. "I have a box of fish" means there are many fish in the box. "I have a case of beer" means the same.

Being an avid home brewer and in the brewing industry I have never heard anyone say "I have a case of beers". If they did I would quietly back away.

Cheers!
Beer Grains Supply Co.
http://beergrains.com

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

ESL/EFL Resources

My Blogs

Read The Tyee

January 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

English Teacher's Visitors