'an ice cream' is correct when we're talking about the individual unit with the cone etc. Of course it can also be uncountable (the tub kind).
I have heard this phrase with "an" but it is an extremely uncommon construction in my part of the US (Chicago area)...
I have literally never heard this. To me, it sounds like something a non-native (American) English speaker would say.
just out of curiosity, what would you call this in the US then? In the UK we say 'an ice cream', because it is just one unit. Would you say 'an ice cream cone?'
Yeah. I think "ice cream" is always treated like an uncountable noun in North America: "three bowls of ice cream" or "two ice cream cones" or "some ice cream." Another AE/BE difference is lettuce. We never say "a lettuce," and we consider the plural of lettuce to just be "lettuce."
In Australia (and I presume the UK as well) when you say 'an ice cream' you mean ice cream on a stick, not really in a cone.
In the US, ice cream on a stick is called an "ice cream bar" (not to be confused with a "popsicle".)
ok thanks. I had never thought about lettuce before, I suppose I would say 'a lettuce' for the entire thing. If it was just some leaves, it would be 'some lettuce'.
"An ice cream cone" or "an ice cream bar", etc. would be correct, but if it is just some amount of ice cream, you would say "He is eating ice cream" or "He is eating some ice cream". "Ice cream" functions as an uncountable noun (if I am remembering my terminology correctly) so using "an" in front of it doesn't make sense. There isn't a concept of a single unit of ice cream.
thanks. Maybe we adopted the concept from the ice lolly (Popsicle) idea, for the single unit thing. I thought I had heard 'an ice cream cone' in american movies, but wasn't sure.
"an ice cream" is how I wrote it as an Australian and is how it'd be said here :)
The reason it says 'AN icecream' and not just 'icecream' is because icecream is a noun in (British) English, so the an would be used. American English is another story though...
I am originally from upstate New York but I have moved around a bit. I would probably say 'he is eating an ice cream' if there were several deserts available and one was an ice cream-based desert. Indeed, if i was going to offer to get a unit based ice cream item, i would say 'do you want an ice cream?' , but if i was to scoop ice cream from the tub, I would say vdo you want ice cream?'. Of course, that would then be followed with 'how much?'
This is a little off topic, but, as everyone us talking about the differences between English in a variety of countries, I am wondering if American English is closer to British English than Canadian English is? As I have been corrected on some Canadian spelling to American spelling (or more likely British spelling). Also, grammar is not my strength so I appologize. Also, we would have to qualify the ice cream if we use 'an/a'... with cone, bar, cake, bowl of, tub of, etc. Without a description it is a strange sentence to me. Thanks for any insight!