Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody. My name is Alisha. Today, I'm going to talk about the difference between taste and flavor, two commonly confused words. Let's get started.
Okay, the first one I want to talk about in this lesson is the word, "flavor." We use "flavor" as both a noun and a verb. Let's first look at how to use "flavor" as a noun. The definition of "flavor" as a noun is the blend of taste and smell sensations caused by something in the mouth. So, this is a key point, a blend of taste and smell together in the mouth. So, for example, we could say, "This has a nice flavor." So, here, we see "flavor" at the end where "this" is the item in the mouth. This food item, perhaps has a nice flavor, or "I don't like fruity flavors." So, again, the blend of something in the mouth produces a fruity flavor, in this case. "I don't like that." So, we can use this as a noun, that's one.
However, second, we can use it as a verb as well. So, as a verb, we can say, to give or add flavor to something is the definition. So, this is key, giving something or adding something. So, in other words, a flavor that was not there. A taste that was not there before is added or is given to something else. So, in some example sentences, "I flavored the drink with lemon." Here, we see it in past tense. "I flavored the drink with lemon," meaning I added lemon to the drink to create a new flavor, to create a new taste. We can also use it, in this sentence, "We flavored the cake with berries." So, by adding berries, it changes the taste or it changes the flavor of the cake by adding some ingredient, in this case, berries. So, I've used the past tense here, "flavored," is the past tense. So, these are the two ways primarily we can use the word, "flavor" as a noun, and as a verb.
Okay, but let's talk about the verb, "taste," or the noun, "taste," as well. So, "taste," as a noun, it has a couple of different meanings. First, we can say that "taste" can be understood--some people might argue there are five tastes. But for now, let's look at these for a sweet, sour, salty, or bitter quality of something. Some people might say, "umami" is the fifth taste. You can decide that. But a quality of something, one of these as understood with the sense of taste, as understood by using essentially your mouth, your taste buds, to understand these qualities of something. So, for example, "This has a really salty taste." So, here, we see "salty" comes before the noun, "taste" here. So, we're describing specifically using one of these words, the quality of something that's in the mouth of food or drink. Another example, "The taste is bitter at first, but sweet at the end." So, again, a specific word to describe the quality of something. We use "taste," "The taste of something is bitter," "The taste is salty." So, we're talking about the quality, a specific quality as understood using these kinds of rough categories here.
So, the second definition of the word, "taste" as a noun now, is as a small amount of food, or drink, a small like food or drink item. So, if you just want to try a piece of something, you can describe that as a taste of something. So, for example, "Can I have a taste of your drink?" Just a taste of it means just to take something into the mouth, and test the flavor, as we'll see later. We can also use it in a sentence like this, "I just want a taste of that sauce." So, meaning, just a small amount of a food or drink item. So, these are the two ways that we can use "taste" as a noun.
As a verb, however, we can use it to mean one, to understand the taste of something by taking it into the mouth. So, taking something into the mouth to understand the flavor, or we can use taste in that way, to understand the flavor, to understand the taste. For example, "I want to taste your cake." Here, "I want to taste," is used as a verb in this sentence. So, "I want to," in other words, "understand the flavor of your cake," by taking it into my mouth. This is the meaning here.
The second general meaning I have is to have a specific flavor. So, this is where many people run into some issues, I think. This sentence that I have here prepared is, "This taste good." When you want to talk about a specific flavor, you're enjoying something or you're not enjoying something that you're eating or drinking, you should use "taste." "Taste," in this way, in this example, "This taste good." "It tasted bad," for example. We don't use "flavor" so much. We don't say, for example, "That had a bad flavor about it." You can say that and it will be understood. It'll be easy to understand, actually. But if you want to sound more natural, I recommend using this form of taste. "This taste good," "This taste bad." So, this means having a specific flavor having some flavor, some combination of smells and tastes together. And then, you can describe that with a good or bad or great. So, when you want to talk about a food, I would recommend using this form. "This taste good," or "This taste bad."
I want to mention though, a couple of other items. A couple of other meanings that I sort of hinted at with the noun description up here. We can also use the verb, "taste," to mean one to eat or drink in small quantities of something. So, like, "I tasted every item on the menu." Sounds like I only had a small piece of each item on the menu. So, it doesn't sound like I ate a one portion of everything from the menu. But to taste something sounds like just a small piece of something. So, we can use it to mean to eat or drink in small quantities. That's one.
Second, as I hinted at before, as well. It can mean to test the flavor of something. So, for example, you might have heard of wine tasting. So, wine tasting is testing the flavor of wine. Or maybe like beer tasting, or some other kind of tasting where participants just try a small piece of something to understand the flavor, to try to test the flavor. So, there are this other kinds of common meanings as well of the verb, to taste.
But in general, when you want to explain your opinion of a flavor, your opinion of a food, you should use an expression like this, "This taste good." "This taste bad." "Your cake tasted really good," for example. Of course, you can drop the expression altogether. You can drop "taste" like this is good, or this is bad, that fine. But just please keep in mind, taste is something that refers to your understanding of the flavor. "Flavor," it refers sort of just to the blend of things. So, we tend to use "flavor" more to maybe describe the quality of a food or a drink. By that, I mean, "The ice cream is lemon-flavored," for example. Or, "This is a grape-flavored soda," for example. We tend to use it in that way. When we want to express our opinions, we'll use taste more often. At least, this is how I use it and this is perhaps how it's used more in American English. So, please maybe consider that. If you want to just describe the name or a simple description of something, "flavor" might be a better choice. If you want to talk about your opinion, try using "taste." "This taste good," "This taste bad." So, I hope that that's helpful for you.
If you have any questions or comments about how to use these two words, feel free to let us know of them. If you liked the video, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to the channel too. You can check us out an EnglishClass101.com for some other good stuff as well. Thanks very much for watching this episode. And I will see you again soon. Bye-bye!

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Hi Diribi,


Thank you for posting.


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Diribi Belemo
Tuesday at 11:13 PM
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please try to clarify your pronounce