Nigeria Newspapers Online

The problem with ‘toast bread’ and ‘toasted bread’

Must Read

In the past, bread was one of the most derided foods in Nigeria. Unlike rice or noodles, especially the ones crowned with chicken, it was regarded as the staple for the wretched. That was an irony because there was never a time the rich or elite too didn’t eat bread, sliced or otherwise. But because it was comparatively cheap or considered so, it was taunted as the food for the poor – alongside garri, guguru (popcorn) and epa (groundnut). No wonder, in Yorubaland, bread was derogatively nicknamed bugan, pafun, digbe etc.

Now, God – or is it bad leaders? – has upgraded bread’s destiny. The economy has become so sick that the rejected stone has become the connerstone. (In literature, the use of ‘the rejected stone …’ here is called an allusion – a biblical allusion – while it can also exemplify a metaphor, hyperbole or personification.) Simply put, bread too has become gold. Based on its new status, I thus think we should chase away any grammatical error associated with the word. It is also a development on the topic we treated last week, titled, ‘Eatery palaver: Between takeout and takeaway’.

One of the questionable sayings is ‘toasted bread’, which carries not less than two grammatical contradictions, euphemistically speaking. (Hope you know the meaning of euphemism as a figure of speech.) When you heat bread so that it becomes brown on both sides and is no longer soft, it becomes ‘toast’. The name of the food changes dramatically, 100 per cent. The initial ‘bread’ disappears, giving ‘toast’ the full semantic and grammatical status to bear the transformation. That is why Longman Dictionary defines ‘toast’ (in the bread/food context) as ‘sliced bread that has been made brown by being put near a high heat’.  The implication is that the word does not need any adjective to be, just as it need not be relegated to an adjective serving ‘bread’:

Can I have toasted bread? (Tautological.)

Can I have toasted bread? (Tautological.)

Can I have toast? (Correct.)

I served her buttered toast bread. (Tautological.)

I served her buttered toast. (Correct.)

Toast bread?

Those who reject ‘toasted bread’ do so because they see ‘toasted’ as an inappropriate adjective in the expression. They prefer ‘toast bread’. But the latter too is problematic because it harbours tautology/redundancy. The browned bread is just one word: toast, which is uncountable. It is neither toasted bread nor toast bread.

Mum is preparing toast for us. (Not toast bread.)

Meanwhile, this is not to say that ‘toasted’ is not a living term in English. It is. It is the past tense of ‘toast’. You can toast bread, in which case ‘toast’ is a verb. Also, you toasted bread yesterday, last week or 101 years ago – especially if you are from the Methuselah family.

‘Toast’ has other meanings outside the kitchen. For instance, you can propose a toast to someone as a mark of celebration or respect.  There is, however, another popular situation ‘toast’ is misapplied: when trying to convince someone to fall in love with you. Instead of saying you are toasting the fellow, use ‘wooing’:

My wife gave me hell when I was toasting her. (Substandard)

My wife gave me hell when I was wooing her. (Correct)

How do ladies toast guys? (Substandard)

How do ladies woo guys? (Correct.)

Nigeria Newspapers Telelgram
Nigerian Gospel Radio
Nigerian Gospel Radio

You may 've missed...

Shaibu being persuaded to drop petition against Edo CJ — Counsel

Former Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu The impeached Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, is being persuaded to drop his petition against the Chief Judge of the state, Justice Daniel Okungbowa. His lawyer, Andrew

Latest Updates

See More Stories Like This