Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Steak Fries Is Good"

While dining at a restaurant with some friends (who are particularly critical in nature but friends nonetheless) an interesting event transpired which sparked a mild controversy at the table. The waitress returned to the table with our beverages, ready to take our orders. I ordered my meal and she asked if I would like any sides. She proceeded to list all of my options.

"We have coleslaw, mashed potatoes, fried okra, steak fries, or apple sauce."

"Steak fries is good," I replied.

This comment elicited much laughter from the rest of the table.
They proceeded to explain that I had misspoken because I should have said "Steak Fries are good."
But I argued that I was selecting from a list of many different sides. I was choosing one from a list of many. Besides, if I had said "steak fries are good" I would have been commenting on the quality of the fries which does not even answer our server's question.

"Ostensibly all of the sides are good but only one of them is good for my meal," I explained. However, my explanations and justifications fell on deaf ears.

It is still a topic of debate.


  1. The title of your post definitely caught my eye! At first, I was waiting for you to tear up some poor kid who used grammar incorrectly. What you wrote was not what i was expecting at all, but you made a great argument. I think most people would automatically say "are" without even thinking about it. I know I probably have. But now that I've read this, I'm really going to think twice.

  2. Tim, this is great! I get into this type of argument quite frequently, but usually stall because yes, I might think I know that something is grammatically correct or incorrect yet have trouble explaining why. Hence the importance of the Grammar class we're taking this semester! It seems that those who know that I am studying to be an English teacher judge my speech/writing so much more than when I was just a regular college student. It's pretty funny!

  3. I've been in that exact situation before, yet was unable to defend myself as eloquently as yourself because I just thought it sounded more correct and thus I chose to say it as such. Having the ability to discern when or where to utilize a particular term is a skill that many of us have grown to take for granted, yet still stumble over whenever a situation such as you described arises.