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Fried Chicken

You can count chickens. 1 chicken, 2 chickens. But Once you fry them, you can’t count them. Why not? What’s wrong with 2 fried chickens?

  • December 23, 2002
  • Posted by Dyske
  • Filed in Grammar

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Fried chickens are counted as such if they are fried whole. Once cut up into parts the individual pieces become uncountable like water and must have counters placed in front of them e.g. a piece or two buckets of fried chicken.

Of course, it is still technically accurate to count entire chickens after they have been fried, so long as the pieces add up to a whole chicken. By ways of saying that you brought a fried chicken to the potluck dinner, you can accurately descrube that you have brought one whole chicken which has been cut up and fried as individual pieces. But I question the sanity of he who really wants to spend time counting chicken parts for the sole purpose of correctly applying a obscure grammatical point.

HonBancho December 23, 2002, 8:21pm

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As if counting in Japanese is any easier, ha!

yoinkmydanish December 29, 2002, 7:56pm

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chicken...monkey...bannana, funny words, do they really have enough power over you to ask questions in relation to their numerical merit? If one were to fry a monkey (and I do not recommend such activities), how would we count them? By parts, or by individual monkey?

pilsnersister January 3, 2003, 4:27pm

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A live chicken is a single indivisible unit. Once it's killed and cooked, it becomes some quantity of fried chicken, which is divisible -- and hard to keep track of, if you have light-fingered hungry people around. HonBancho's right; nobody wants to have to keep count. Fried chicken is just fried chicken.

tnh March 17, 2003, 5:08pm

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"The fat one wants four whole fried chickens and a coke."

So, thanks to Aretha Franklin and Saturday Night Live, there's precedent for counting fried chickens.

But, more seriously, I expect that it's mostly an issue of "chicken" referring both to the animal and to the meat. Kill them, and cows becomes beef, pigs becomes pork, but chickens only "become" chicken.

Jake March 18, 2003, 1:37am

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Okay ya'll. It's got ta do with cookin' ya see.

Those chickn's get ta be singular when they go from being ingredients (note: plural ingredients) in the recipe to being the resultin' dish (singular).

Lack usin' avocados (plural) to make guacamole (singular), peas to make pea soup, or chickens or chicken parts to make a luscious platta of fried chicken.

Ya see??

rnoble April 9, 2003, 12:10pm

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I think it's more simple than all of these explanations.

While it's in original animal form (whether dead, live, boiled, fried, hanging in the window of a chinese barbecue shop or otherwise) it is pluralized. (Look mom, I've got 2 boiled chickens!)

When referring to the meat, it's simply chicken.

rostor April 10, 2003, 10:15am

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Yes     No