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The word "confectionery" is defined as "sweets and chocolates considered collectively."

I'm wondering if it could be used to refer to a single piece of food, such as:

This confectionery is so delicious.

This is great confectionery. You should give it a try.

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    If it says "considered collectively" why would you believe it is the word to use for an individual thing? If you want to refer to an individual item of confectionery, there are other words - the question of which word to use is complicated because it differs between US and UK English, and perhaps depends on the type of confectionery. If you want to know which word is best for an individual thing, you should ask that, and then you might get an answer that helps you.
    – Stuart F
    Jun 28 at 11:19
  • @StuartF Some say "This firearm is rare contraband" is okay even though "contraband" is also defined collectively.
    – Apollyon
    Jul 7 at 5:52

1 Answer 1

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You could, but it would be a little odd...

It would be like having a glass of water, and saying "This liquid is delicious". Perfectly valid sentence, but people would look at you funny.

Confectionery is a group term, and would usually not be used for a specific piece that you are pointing out.

As for a sentence as "This firearm is rare contraband", would be a normal sentence, even if contraband (and firearm for that matter) are both collections. Contraband shares a common property, being illigal, and that is what is being refered to.

As for why firearm is acceptable is because further precision would not be needed, and only complicate things. It doesn't matter if it's an mp5, dessert eagle or old western revolver, they would all be put in the category of contraband.

Sadly none of this is a precise science, and relies a bunch of common knowledge, about what is common knowledge. So the challenge is to understand what your recipient knows, and set your wording accordingly

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  • Agreed. In the singular, "candy" would be a better choice.
    – Graffito
    Jun 28 at 15:32
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    @Graffito - Only in American English! In Britain candy has the specific meaning of crystallised sugar. Jun 28 at 16:58
  • Do you find "This firearm is rare contraband" okay? "Contraband" is also defined collectively.
    – Apollyon
    Jul 7 at 5:54

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