Okay, a brief grammatical scuffle has broken out on a forum I frequent, where someone used the expression 'with whiskey and cigar', and someone else claimed it was grammatically incorrect, suggesting that 'cigar' should either be pluralised or preceded with 'a'.

I'm absolutely convinced that it's correct as it is, but I'm afraid I don't have the in-depth knowledge to adequately explain why, so if someone could clarify this for me, I'd be most appreciative. Thanks! :)

EDIT: For completeness, the expression in question is actually the 'tagline' of the forum in question 'Where gaming happens with whiskey and cigar'.

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    Context please. At least post a complete sentence. – mplungjan Jan 13 '14 at 12:27
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    After your edit, I'd say it's plain wrong. Should be cigars IMHO. – Mr Lister Jan 13 '14 at 12:36
  • "I'm absolutely convinced that it's correct as it is," so am I. Ask anyone who objects: Why? -- it's for them to try and argue their case and, eventually, fail. – Kris Jan 13 '14 at 12:47
  • Kris - no. I would disagree with you entirely. It is grammatically incorrect, as per well known rules of the English language. The author of this line should justify why they aren't following the rules. – Rory Alsop Jan 13 '14 at 12:51
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    "with whiskey and cigar" is incorrect, or least extremely archaic and odd-sounding. Should be "with whiskey and cigars" or even "with whiskey and a cigar". – user24964 Jan 13 '14 at 13:12

The zero article (that is, no article at all) is sometimes found in parallel structures of the type shown in your example. A couple of similar examples, taken from the ‘Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English’, are:

Thankfully, it has turned out all right for mother and baby.


This broadly relates to communications between lawyer and client.

The device was once used by writers of travel books about the British Empire in titles such as ‘Adventures in Zambechuland with Gun and Rod’.

So, yes, it is grammatical, but so, too, would be 'Where gaming happens with a whiskey and a cigar'.

  • Grammatical yes, but I'm concerned about the meaning; in 'With Rod and Line along the Alimentary Canal' the implication is that you are using one fishing rod. Sharing one cigar round has schoolboy implications the forum may not desire. – TimLymington Jan 13 '14 at 13:23
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    @Tim: if three people go "fishing with rod and reel", they probably have more than one fishing rod between them. But I don't think anybody says "fishing with rods and reels". – Peter Shor Jan 13 '14 at 13:26
  • @Barrie - that's along the lines I'm thinking as well - I've seen similar examples used many times in the past in a variety of different works, but have been unable to adequately explain why it works. – TeePee Jan 13 '14 at 13:50
  • A similar example would be With whiskey in one hand and cigar in the other, he proceeded to tell us his story. – Barrie England Jan 13 '14 at 14:24

As it stands,

I brought whiskey and cigars


I brought whiskey and a cigar

are correct. I brought whiskey and cigar is not really correct but understandable. It could be correct if "whiskey and cigar" is an expression.


A whiskey and cigar gaming club

is ok


Where gaming happens with whiskey and cigar

is grammatically incorrect.

Should be

Where gaming happens with whiskey and cigars

or if you only get one cigar per game

Where gaming happens with whiskey and a cigar

  • Yeah, apologies - original post has since been clarified. – TeePee Jan 13 '14 at 12:35
  • Please see update. Your tagline is incorrect – mplungjan Jan 13 '14 at 13:24

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