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Why do people say “a beer” and “a coffee” if those words are uncountable?

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A student asked, “Why do people say ‘a beer’ or ‘a coffee’ if beer and coffee are uncountable?”

Great question! Liquids are uncountable, and with uncountable nouns we usually don’t use “a” or “an.” We never say “an information” or “a blood,” for example.

But with drinks, native English speakers do say “I’ll have a beer” or “Can I get a coffee?” as a short form for saying “a bottle/can/glass of beer” or “a cup of coffee.”

So this is a bit of an exception – a good example of how spoken English doesn’t always follow the strict grammar rules.

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