Why can't it be translated, 'soap, please'? I know there's an 'en' there, but does anyone in English ever say 'a soap'?
The suggested translation, which you can see on top of this page, is A bar of soap, please!
We also currently accept 'a soap' for the sake of people whose native language is not English.
However, soap, please would be tvål, tack! in Swedish.
Thanks for leaving 'a soap' there, my native language is not English and i didn't even notice the counting issue.
I came here wondering if anyone had any comments on what sort of context would make one ask for soap. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Ha! Maybe if you got in the shower and realized there was no more soap. Or if you were showering in prison and dropped your soap.
Understanding that, the only problem is that soap is an uncountable noun"a soap" or "two soaps" sounds weird. That is unless "tvål" is better translated into bar of soap
In the context of this brief sentence, yes: it would be weird (indeed, wrong) to say "a soap". But the phrase "a soap" is not always wrong in itself. For instance, one could say "I want a soap that won't dry out my skin".
I think its more like saying "one soap, please", which would make more sense.
"A bar" or "one bar" of soap would be better but an inaccurate translation
How is that an inaccurate translation? "A bar of soap" is listed as the translation at the top. It is also mentioned by the moderator below. The foreign language must be translated into natural English, not a word-for-word translation.
Sure you would. Especially for the kinds that don't come in bars.
I'm going to buy people fancy soaps for Christmas this year
Don't drop the soap!
Both ways of referring to soap as an actual object instead of a substance. I mean beer generally comes in glasses but you don't go around saying 'a glass of beer please'. I mean you can but sometimes it feels pretty redundant and strange. So yeah, you can go to a shop that sells bars of soap and buy 'a soap' without having to point out they sell them in bars, y'know?
Sorry, but I disagree. HarriOxo asserts that a native speaker of English would not say "a soap." Your examples are "fancy soaps" and "the soap." Those are things we might actually say, but they don't support the argument that we would commonly say "a soap," which we wouldn't.
The only situation I can think of is if somebody were choosing "a soap." For example: "I'm looking for a soap that won't dry my face." In the context of this particular lesson and sentence, which is what we're discussing, one would never say, "Hand me a soap" or "A soap, please."
They're both examples of 'soap' being used as an object, instead of a mass noun, so of course you can use the indefinite article with an object, and you don't need to say 'a bar of substance' to refer to countable soap objects
If you go into your shop that sells fancy soaps, you could say "a soap please" and the assistant could say "hand me a soap" to someone who's stocking the shelves behind them. There's nothing remotely strange about this at all, but agreeing that we might say 'soaps' or 'the soap' but somehow not 'a soap' is a pretty weird stance. Especially when you wouldn't say the same applies to other objects-from-mass-nouns, like 'a beer' - there's no grammatical rule being applied here, so it sounds like you're just generalising about usage?
Really the only reason I wanted to clarify this is that yet again there's someone in the comments proclaiming that "no native speaker would ever say this!" I'm a native speaker, it's completely normal to refer to bars of soap (or tubs of shaving soap, etc.) as just 'a soap' - maybe you've never heard it, but that's just your personal experience of a language spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world
I don't know where you are from, but this native speaker (English) has certainly neither heard nor said "a soap" in over seventy years of using and teaching the language.
As a native English speaker, I would definitely say "some soap please" or "hand me some soap," but never "a soap."
My mnemonic for this word is to imagine a bar of soap shaped like a number 2.
'Tack' often means 'thanks', but Swedish also often uses it in contexts where English would use 'please'.
I think I know a way of saying that in Russian.
"En tvål tack" would be "(Одно) Мыло , пожалуйста"
"Tvål, tack" would be " (Дайте) Мыла , пожалуйста"
Just in case any Russians are here and are just as confused.