Black Coffee with Sugar

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Feb 17 15:26:38 UTC 2004

At 10:04 AM -0500 2/17/04, Alice Faber wrote:
>Benjamin Barrett said:
>>The editors of the dictionary I'm working on have a dictionary citation
>>saying that black coffee can have sugar in it. I disagree, but several
>>online definitions I found say only that whitener isn't used, leaving me to
>>wonder if sugar can be.
>>Does anyone say black coffee to mean with sugar?
>Well, I don't normally put sugar in brewed coffee (just in espresso),
>but it doesn't sound at all odd for me to order "black coffee, no

I should add that it really does depend on the context.  If someone
calls and asks me to answer a survey question on how I drink my
coffee, I'd have to say "black with sugar", since "black" in that
context would implicate no sugar.  But if the Starbucks guy asks
whether I want my coffee black, I'd just say yes.  In fact, as I was
just reminded (I was in Seattle this weekend, where they presumably
are experts on this), what you get asked is whether they should leave
room for cream. Complicated, these isocafs.


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