5

Here I am talking about the gas stove. Can I say "put it on fire" where the fire is actually the flame of the gas stove?

Do I have to say "Put it on flame"? Which one is better? Why?

  • Shortest is: Please serve hot! – Maulik V Nov 24 '15 at 7:44
  • 8
    I would say "put it on the stove". – user24743 Nov 24 '15 at 8:18
  • 1
    The food is cold. You reheat it. Specifically, using a stove. – shin Nov 24 '15 at 9:19
  • 3
    "the fire" conjures up images of bits of wood burning, hence I would avoid it in this case. – AndyT Nov 24 '15 at 10:17
  • 3
    @AndyT If I'm sitting by a fire, saying "Put it on the fire" means I want you to warm the thing up in the fire, while saying "Put it on fire" means I want you to ignite the thing. Even if a literal fire isn't immediately available, the article is generally necessary to make this distinction. – talrnu Nov 24 '15 at 20:35
8

I guess we do not say: Put it on the fire.


To put something on fire/flame might mean to "burn it with fire/flame."


The best way is to say, as Rathony suggested:

Put it on the stove/gas

or

Cook/bake/heat it

This is what we say normally. If you are on a camping trip(and don't have grill or stove) or on some wild expedition, only then say:

Cook it over the fire.

However, Both fire and flame are similar, yet different. Clear your confusion here


To be more specific and correct, you can choose to say:

Put it on the burner

Thanks J.R

  • 1
    I'd be inclined to say, "Put it on the burner." – J.R. Nov 24 '15 at 9:41
13

I usually use burner in this context:

Don't use the microwave; put it on the burner.

As Cambridge says:

burner (n.) the ​part of a ​cooker, ​light, etc. that ​produces ​flame or ​heat

A burner can apply to a gas or an electric stove. Although I wouldn't usually say, "Put the food on the flame," the word flame is often used in cooking contexts; for example:

Heat the onions over a low flame.

  • 4
    +1. In the UK you might be more likely to put it on the hob than the burner; but if you used burner you would be widely understood. – AndyT Nov 24 '15 at 10:15
  • 5
    I'm British and I've never heard a hob referred to as a burner, but I could guess what was meant. I'd use hob, but could be more specific and say ring (electric) or gas. – thelem Nov 24 '15 at 10:27
  • 1
    @thelem - Great info! It might be worth adding an extra answer for the UK version. I'd find it interesting and probably upvote it. – J.R. Nov 24 '15 at 10:50
6

Put it on the fire

Native speakers normally only say Put X on the fire if they mean that X should be burned up -- a standard example is

Put another log on the fire

meaning that a wood fire is burning low and needs additional fuel. But you might also say

Put those documents on the fire

meaning that the documents should be destroyed by the fire. In both cases, you may hear in instead of on. In is natural when the additional item would appear to be inside the existing fire, and on is natural when it would appear to be on top of the existing fire.

However, in the unusual-nowadays situation that you are actually cooking over an open fire (perhaps you are camping in the wilderness?) it would be reasonable to say put the food (back) on the fire and people would understand that the food should be heated and not destroyed. (If you really meant to destroy the food -- e.g. to dispose of bones so they don't attract scavenging animals -- you could say to put it in the fire.)

Put it on the flame

Flame is a count noun; it is only used in the singular when there appears to be one flame and not an entire fire's worth of flames.

The fire produced by a gas stove's burner is considered to be a single flame, and you may hear people say turn the flame up/down to indicate that the intensity of the fire (and therefore the amount of heat produced) needs to be increased or decreased.

However, you cannot put anything on a flame, because a flame is an insubstantial cloud of gas/plasma and it can't hold anything up. One might put something in a flame to heat it, but that means to put the object literally inside the flame, so you'd almost never say that about food. It is more likely to come up in metalworking, for instance.

Put it (back) on the stove

This is normally how one would ask for food to be heated or reheated in a modern kitchen (if you don't want to use the conventional or microwave oven to do it). A pot being heated by a cooking stove is on the stove, because the structure that physically supports it is a component of the stove. It is also said to be on the burner, whether or not the stove actually burns anything; if you are cooking with any kind of stove, burner refers to one of the positions on the top of the stove, each of which can independently heat something. It is not, however, on the fire (even for a gas stove) because the component that the flames emerge from is not physically supporting the pot.

The word that refers specifically to the thing supporting the pot is trivet for a gas stove, burner or heating element for a traditional electric stove, and stovetop for a glass-top electric stove. If you are designing or repairing a gas stove, burner refers specifically to the component that the flames emerge from, but this is not the usage while cooking.

1

I think the clearest phrasing would be this:

Put it on the stovetop

Or more colloquially:

Put it on the gas

Put it on to heat

Or older usage:

Put it on the hob

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.