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What would be the right sentence to use to say that I am reading a book about cooking?

  • I am reading a cooking book
  • I am reading a cook book

Please explain the reason for the choice.

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closed as general reference by Marthaª, Cameron, MετάEd, tchrist, Mark Beadles Oct 17 '12 at 14:34

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Why not "cookbook" (one word)? – user19148 Oct 11 '12 at 6:53
Thats why am asking to learn :) – Issa Qandil Oct 11 '12 at 7:22
Everyone says 'cookbook'; no one says 'cooking book'. – Mitch Oct 11 '12 at 12:30
up vote 8 down vote accepted

A cooking book would be an odd thing to say. Cook-book (with or without a hyphen, and with or without a space) is fine, and so is cookery book.

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I agree, a cooking book seems to imply the book is an ingredient. I would always call such a book a cookery book. – Matt Oct 11 '12 at 10:49
In American English, cooking book, cook-book and cookery book are virtually unknown; see ngram – bib Oct 11 '12 at 12:40
@bib ngram shows cookbook really came into being around 1910 in AmE. Till then it was predominantly cookery book. (books.google.com/ngrams/…) – Kris Oct 11 '12 at 13:04

Reading a book about cooking, reading a cookbook, reading a cook book, and reading a cooking book could potentially be four different things:

  1. A book about cooking is generally an instructional book or informational book like a textbook, book on the history of cooking, etc. It may have recipes as well, but the focus will be on cooking as a subject.
  2. A cookbook is generally a book of recipes. There may be a few other things, but the recipes are the primary focus.
  3. A cook book is somewhat awkward, and might want to be avoided, as there's the chance it could be interpreted as a book about cooks rather than cooking or recipes (at the very least it's ambiguous)
  4. A cooking book is even more awkward, as it could potentially bring to mind an image of reading a book that is sitting in a pot, simmering with the stew.
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A book about cooking and includes recipe can be called Recipe Book or Cookery Book.

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I've lived in the US as a native speaker of English my entire life, and I've never heard either of these terms used. UK and other English speaking countries may have different usage patterns, of course, but in the US both of these would sound very awkward. – Beska Oct 15 '13 at 17:49

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