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Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Let’s begin this lesson by looking at the commonly confused words taste and flavour. The word taste is often used as a verb, so you can say that a food tastes good or tastes bad. If you want to be a little more extreme in your description, you can say that a food tastes divine/heavenly (for an extremely good taste) or tastes gross/disgusting (for an extremely bad taste).

Another expression is “it tastes funny” – that means it tastes unusual, with a negative connotation. For example, “This milk tastes funny – it might be past its expiration date.” It’s very common to say that something tastes like something else: “I had frog’s legs once – they tasted like chicken.” The word flavour is typically used as a noun. We can say something has a nutty, fruity, cheesy, minty, or salty flavour to compare the flavor to another food (nuts, fruit, cheese, etc.) You can also use the word taste as a noun – for example: “This wine has a fruity taste / fruity flavour.” Flavors or tastes can also be described by category, or by the sensation they cause in your mouth – a bitter flavour, a sour taste, a sweet taste. When you enjoy the taste of something, and want to keep it in your mouth for a long time, we say you savour the taste. If a food has a LOT of flavor, then it can be described as strong or rich – the strong flavour of garlic, the rich flavour of chocolate. When the level of flavor is low, it is a mild flavour or a subtle flavour. Both of these words have a positive connotation – “This cheese has a nice, mild flavour” or, “The subtle flavour of ginger adds a nice touch to this marinade.” The expression bland taste or bland flavour is a way to describe food with little flavor, with a negative connotation. For example – “These crackers have such a bland flavour that it feel like I’m snacking on cardboard.” There are some foods that people usually don’t enjoy the first time they try them… but with time, people learn to like the flavour. A food like this can be described as an acquired taste.

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