Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Yesterday a colleague gave me a piece of cake. We are both not native English speakers, but communicate in English.

She wanted to ask me if I liked it and wrote:

'Did the cake taste you?' (1)

She asked me if it's correct English. I told her that I don't know and that probably I would use 'Did you like the cake?' (2) or 'Was the cake tasty?' (3)

Are all 3 correct?

share|improve this question
1  
Voting to close on the grounds that this is a proofreading question. @TweeZz, please specify what part of the sentences you think is incorrect. Otherwise, this is off topic per the FAQ. –  simchona Aug 12 '11 at 7:29
    
"Did the cake taste you?" is missing just two words; "Did the cake taste good to you?" includes these two words to make the question correct. –  Randolf Richardson Aug 12 '11 at 7:56
    
@simchona I can't say which part of the sentences I think is incorrect / correct. I often just have the feeling something is not right. I was pretty sure my 2 sentences were correct (2 and 3) and had the feeling hers was not. So I cannot use this site to ask for confirmation if something is correct or not? If so, could you then please give me an example of what I should change to make this a not off topic question? Thank you. –  TweeZz Aug 12 '11 at 9:02
1  
Out of curiosity: does your colleague happen to be German? Her question looks like a word-by-word translation of the German equivalent. –  Zsolt Török Aug 12 '11 at 9:33
    
Nope, Slovak. I'm Belgian and Flemish is quite close to German :) Heeft de taart gesmaakt? vs Hat die Torte geschmeckt? Yes, the German is just my wild guess :) –  TweeZz Aug 12 '11 at 19:25
add comment

4 Answers

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Your examples were correct; hers was not, because in her example you are the object of the verb taste. That means you're the one being eaten, and the cake is the one eating you.

Both of your sentences were perfectly good ways of asking if someone enjoyed the cake. A good response might be, "Yes, it was delicious!"

share|improve this answer
    
Taste also has an expanded meaning of 'experience', e.g. "some of you that have tasted Africa now hold a very special place in your hearts for this incredible continent." So the original sentence could be based on imagining the cake to be sentient, and asking whether it experienced you biting it. It's rather unlikely that this is the intended meaning. –  bdsl Aug 12 '11 at 9:21
add comment

"Taste" is one of a number of verbs of perception which have two meanings, an active and a middle.

In the active sense, it requires a direct object, and is said of the experiencer:

I tasted the cake.

It refers to the act of perceiving, not to the quality perceived.

In the "middle" sense, it must not take a direct object, but an adjectival or adverbial complement. It refers to the foodstuff, and describes the quality of what can be perceived in it:

This cake tastes sweet.

So "*The cake tastes me" does not make sense.

"Feel" has exactly the same range of meanings.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for the active and middle sense thingy :) –  TweeZz Aug 12 '11 at 19:28
add comment

Saying "Did the cake taste you?" implies that instead of you eating the cake, the cake ate a bit of you. This is incorrect. Perhaps a better way to phrase it would be, "Did the cake taste good to you?"

Your other two options are correct. They sound natural to me (Am.E. native speaker).

share|improve this answer
add comment

The first example you gave is correct English, it's perfectly grammatical, but it doesn't mean what she wanted to mean. She probably wanted to ask if you liked the cake and was the cake nice, but the question she asked was, did the cake sample a bit of you while you ate it?

The second and third examples would have been the correct question to ask.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.