2

I was having this debate with a friend. She would ask “do you like latte?” When asking me if I liked the drink latte. I explained it would be “do you like lattes?”. However, she then asked “how come you don’t say, do you like coconut waters? Or do you like sodas?” That part kind of stumped me. It seems more correct to ask “Do you like lattes?” But I cant think of any other examples where you would pluralize the word like that. Thank you for your help as I am kind of stumped.

  • Would you normally ask: Do you like teas/coffees? – Mari-Lou A Oct 10 '18 at 10:24
  • 1
    Do you like the drink "latte/tea/coffee", or do you like sampling "lattes/teas/coffees"? – Lawrence Oct 10 '18 at 10:50
3

Latte is still a pretty new word, only really gaining steam (sorry) in English at the end of the '80s or the beginning of the '90s. There is apparently still some disagreement about how it should be made plural.

To me, "I like latte" sounds as incorrect as "I drink smoothie every morning," or "I had some great milkshake at the diner last night." In other words unlike coffee, or milk, latte is never uncountable for me.

We don't have strict rules for pluralization, but there are patterns. Beverages which are prepared or served in large quantities (e.g. pots of tea or coffee, barrels or bottles of wine, jugs of water) tend to be uncountable (sometimes uncountable - you can still order "three coffees"), whereas beverages which are prepared or served in single servings (cocktails, milkshakes, smoothies) tend to be countable.

I'd put latte in that latter category; I've never seen a pot of latte. But like I said, there's no hard and fast rule. I have seen a pitcher of Manhattans.

If you're trying to convince someone, your best bet is probably to research common usage. You can try using Google Ngram Viewer. The results I found weren't very satisfying (although they seemed to suggest "I like lattes" is more common), but maybe you'll have more luck.

-1

the plural of latte is lattes

As in

Do you like latte? If so, i have some sample lattes for you to try!

and

Fall means crisp leaves, pumpkin spice lattes and, of course, a jacket. Seattle Times 2018

and

We meet the day before the event, over an on-brand turmeric latte in an east London cafe. The GuardianSep 24, 2018

  • 4
    This doesn't explain why we use the singular in "do you like latte" -- as opposed to "do you like doughnuts". – michael.hor257k Oct 10 '18 at 12:23
  • 2
    Because coffee is a substance, while doughnuts are individual items. – Kate Bunting Oct 10 '18 at 13:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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