which one of the following sentences is correct and why, thanks in advance

  1. I would like chicken
  2. I would like a chicken
  3. I would like some chicken

1 Answer 1


All three are correct, but sentence 2 is arguably different in meaning.

We need to distinguish between the bird and the meat from that bird. "Chicken" can refer to both (see definitions 1 and 2 at OALD). With some animals in English, we have different words for their respective meats (pig and pork, cow and beef), but not so with chicken.

Sentence 1 and 3 both imply that the speaker would like an unspecified amount of meat from a chicken. But because chicken as food is uncountable (see def. 2 at OALD), the indefinite article in sentence 2 implies that the speaker would like an entire (presumably living) chicken (def. 1 at OALD), possibly to keep as a pet.

If you want to imply that you would like the entire carcass of a chicken for cooking or consumption, you could instead of sentence 2 specify that you would like a whole chicken.

  • I will only add that you can ask for "a chicken" to eat if you mean that you intend to eat a whole chicken. (Normally a Cornish game hen or other small one.)
    – Mary
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 0:10

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