Grammar Question

For dessert/For a dessert

Hello!

Tell me, please, do you use "a" before the word "dessert" in sentences like the ones below?

For a dessert I had pancakes with honey.

For dessert I had pancakes with honey.

If you use both of them, is there any difference between them?

Thank you in advance!


1

Dessert, by itself, is the course or the part of the meal that comes at the end. A dessert is an item, a food, a dish, that is served for dessert. In your two example sentences the difference is very subtle and might not even be noticed by a native speaker. "For a dessert" might mean I had several choices, and I might even have eaten more than one dish for dessert, one of which was "pancakes with honey". "For dessert" would mean that for the last course of the meal, I ate "pancakes with honey".

The difference would be greater and more important in a statement like "We're getting together at her house for dinner tomorrow, and I have to provide dessert." (The whole dessert course is my responsibility.) vs. "I have to bring a dessert." (I have to bring one dessert dish; there will probably be others.)

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Comments

Alice Val Alice Val (2) on 17/03/16

Richard, thank you very much! It's absolutely clear to me now.

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