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Should one ask: "What food and drink do you prefer?" or "What food and drinks do you prefer?" As a general question, is the verb "prefer" quite fine or would the adjective "favourite" be more appropriate in "What's your favourite food and drink or drinks?"

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  • Prefer isn't wrong, but it is mostly used of a choice between two, or a small number of, options. Favourite is much more idiomatic. Apr 16, 2023 at 9:00
  • Perhaps if you gave some context one option would clearly be better than the other, but otherwise I think that any answer would be opinion-based. (Also, the questions that you ask deal with different issues, so I think that they should have been asked in separate posts.) Apr 16, 2023 at 19:01
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    Oh, also the second quoted text in the title does not match the second quoted text in the question body. Apr 16, 2023 at 19:02
  • The Title asks about two similar phrases, while the Body asks about "favourite" vs. "prefer". We can't tell which question you are actually asking here. You should change one to agree with the other, and then ask the deleted question as a separate question. Apr 17, 2023 at 2:25
  • Who would even say this? We'd say: What would you like to eat and drink?
    – Lambie
    Apr 17, 2023 at 12:25

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It's not a case of having a preference. Your particular example, although seemingly straightforward, could be phrased so many different ways to mean subtly different things.

As well as using the plural 'drinks', you can also use the plural 'foods'. Both words can be used non-countably to mean food or drink in general, but that may not be the best way to ask this question.

'Food' can refer to a particular cuisine, type of food, or the food of a particular country or region - for example, Chinese food. When speaking about multiple cuisines you would use the plural 'foods', so if you are expecting more than one answer when you ask this question it might make more sense to use 'foods'.

"Food and drink" is a common compound noun that can mean either gastronomy or consumable items in general. It would be unusual to pluralise just one of the words in a compound noun like this. If you do, it ceases to be a recognisable compound noun. It sounds like you want just one food but many drinks as an answer.

To be honest, it's a bit of a weird question, because even though food and drink are so closely associated, there aren't strict pairings of food and drink beyond the world of gastronomy. For example, if the answer to your question is "Chinese food" would you assume they also like Chinese drinks?

If your aim is to find out broadly what kinds of food someone likes, you could just ask:

What (or which) foods do you like?

And separately ask:

What do you like to drink?

Or, if you were looking for specific suggestions of dishes and drinks, the most idiomatic way I would ask this is:

What do you like to eat and drink?

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