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On supermarket shelves with dozens of varieties of (sweet) biscuits, I find some packs (UK produced, inc. 'own brand') labelled 'cookies' but I cannot find any way (consistency, content) of distinguishing between them, and throughout my youth (I'm 75) they would have been called biscuits. In this link from a similar question http://www.pepperidgefarm.com/ProductLanding.aspx?catID=715, if the contents ('cookies') illustrated in the photos were simply laid out on a table, we Brits surely would call them biscuits. Forgetting 'dessert', we all know what 'eating a sweet' means and it would not include a piece broken off a bar of choc. Would an American say 'eating a candy'? Anyway, US 'candy' obviously has wider connotations.

  • Who is "we" here? Are you asking this from an American point of view? What has sweet/candy/dessert got to do with a question about biscuits? – Andrew Leach Sep 3 '16 at 14:57
  • Are you asking about the difference between "cookie" and "biscuit" in U.K. English? Or are you asking what Americans call stuff? This question is too broad. And usually Americans eat "a piece of candy", not "a candy" or "a sweet". – Peter Shor Sep 3 '16 at 15:37
  • Also, where do fairy cakes come into this, I thought you were asking why some brands of biscuit are referred to as cookies - the main answer being the influence of American culture and brands in UK life. But a fairy cake, in my (British) life, would always refer to a cupcake and is not really relevant to biscuits or cookies. – BladorthinTheGrey Sep 3 '16 at 22:27
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    In fact, all the 'biscuits' sold as 'cookies' in the UK that I've seen are different in consistency - more soft and crumbly than a 'proper' biscuit. – peterG Sep 3 '16 at 23:48
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    The issue of chocolate is complicated in the U.S., where we have numerous categories of the stuff. Very small forms—such as M&Ms and Hershey's Kisses—are sometimes specifically referred to as "chocolate candies"; and an entire genre of "bite-size" or "fun size" chocolate bars are frequently termed "candy bars" (as indeed are their full-size equivalents at times. But "chocolate bar" is also widely used, and semisweet chocolate chips used for baking chocolate chip cookies, although quite small, are almost never described as candy. As I said, it's complicated. – Sven Yargs Sep 9 '16 at 18:50
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To answer your question. No, a native American English speaker would not (normally) say "eating a candy", but would instead say "eating candy" or "eating a piece of candy". "Candy" is a mass noun.

As with many mass nouns, though, the plural, "candies", can be used to refer to categories of candy, and then "eating a candy" would be appropriate in a context where it means eating a specific type of candy.

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  • I agree and would add that candy is a very specific type of sweet food, which is pretty much purely sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup) and coloring. Yuck. I'm ready to change the subject. – aparente001 Sep 4 '16 at 3:44

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