If one were to try and compare mixed food with food and a side which would you use? For example, what is the difference between "Green Salad with Dressing" and "Green Salad and Dressing" and which one would you use to imply the dressing was on the side?


Depending on the type of salad and the competence/preferences of whoever prepared it, the dressing might already be mixed or not. In the case of a "green salad", for example, I think it would be straightforward incompetence to serve this mixed. But I don't think it's meaningful to distinguish between with and and in this context. Neither word implies anything about how it would actually be served.

If you really didn't want them mixed, you'd be safest actually specifying that, for example:

Salad with a dressing served separately

  • Well, depending on the salad you would never normally dress it (unless it's bound by dressing) before it reaches the table. So I have edited my question to be more specific to Green Salads which one should never dress before they reach the table. I hope this clarifies it so that "with" and "and" can mean different things but I don't know if it will, worth a try. <br /><br /> Note: There are more reasons why a chef would never normally dress greens but I'm sure you already know all these reasons so I left them out. – Jordon Bedwell Jul 27 '11 at 18:42
  • @Jordon Bedwell: If the menu had the same salad with and and dressing as separate items, with nothing else to clarify, I would think the place was a bit too 'precious' for me, so I'd eat elsewhere. I would have been there to eat, not to wrestle with someone's bizarre notions of semantic distinctions. – FumbleFingers Jul 27 '11 at 19:00

Well, I don't know a prescriptive rule that explains which to use when, so I'll go through some examples and hopefully some sort of guide will appear.

Green Salad with Dressing

Dressing is already on the salad

Green Salad and Dressing

Dressing is already on the salad

Chips with mayo

Mayo is on the side

Chips and mayo

Mayo is on the side

Burger and fries

fries are on the side

Burger with fries

fries are on the side

Fruit with salad

Salad is on the side

Fruit and salad

Two separate dishes.

Essentially what my gut is telling me is that there is no specific rule for food, and it's based on the reader's experience.

If every time they've read "Salad with/and dressing" and dressing is on the side, then that's what they'll expect.

Moreover: if you can't express an idea without ambiguity in one word, then use more words.

Green salad with dressing on the side

Dressed green salad (Caesar dressing)


Tomatoes and garlic is probably the same as tomatoes with garlic. But if you say garlic with tomatoes maybe you are hinting that there is too much garlic.

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