Is “Feeling a …?” a thing?

A while back, I discussed Donald Trump tweeting that his political enemy Bob Corker “was made to sound a fool”–the Britishism being the omission of the word  “like” after “sound.”

Soon afterwards, my friend and neighbor Nanette Tobin alerted me to this sign in our town grocery store:

IMG_5277

Nanette wondered if the first line were a similarly British elision–the meaning being “Feeling like having a treat?” (Obviously, the more common way of expressing this on the other side of the Atlantic would be “Fancy a treat?”) I tend to think that it sounded British to the signmakers, but it actually isn’t. What do you lot have to say?

26 responses to “Is “Feeling a …?” a thing?

  1. I think it is an error. An equivalent BrE usage for this would be ‘Feel like a treat?’.
    I would love to know if the writer does not have English as their first language.

  2. Just run out of space?! Agree with Nick.

  3. Nick T is right but ‘Fancy a Treat ?’ would be more common

    • brianbutterworth

      “Felling a treat” … feels wrong to me. The “feel like” to “feel” contraction only really occurs when the comparison is to another thing, not an event.

      So, “Fred felt a plonker” is OK because “a plonker” is a nominal person.

      But “Feel a treat” isn’t because you don’t drop the metaphor introducing “like” when the metaphor is an event (“consume something nice”).

      I would suggest British people would go for “Need a treat?” and move from discussing an emotional state (urgh!) to simple decision-making.

      IMHO, of course!

    • It follows a pattern used in Br En with a range of other verbs, especially ‘look’, but I’ve never seen or heard it with ‘feel’.

  4. …but ‘feel a treat’ in BrE doesn’t mean ‘feel like having a treat’. It means ‘feel good/special’. Works with other perception verbs too, as in the post I link to above.

  5. That just sounds like someone’s going around squeezing the goods on display. ‘Feel like a treat?’ or ‘Fancy a treat?’ would both work fine, tho.

  6. Yes, I agree with lynneguist here. In BrE, ‘feeling a treat’ would mean feeling very good about oneself. As one might also be ‘looking a treat’ –looking very good, and especially nicely-dressed and/or made-up.

    • But if you -were- feeling a treat, you might well be in the mood for something sweet (and the sign made perfect sense to me and my BrE with that context.) I agree this nuance might not be what they intended, however.

    • I agree, but it would also be rather an unusual, perhaps old-fashioned thing to hear.

  7. I am reminded of the words of the song –

    “Any, any, any old iron?
    You look neat. Talk about a treat!
    You look so dapper from your napper to your feet.
    Dressed in style, brand-new tie,…”

    • “…and yer father’s old green tie on!
      Oh I wouldn’t give yer tuppence for yer old watch-chain
      Old iron! Old Iron!”

      Also I think it’s ‘brand new tile’ in line 4 – as in a new hat. Forgive the pedantry.

  8. Except, I’ve heard people say someone “looks a treat”. But I’ve never heard someone say they “feel a treat”. I agree with lynneguist that it looks like a valid usage, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say it. Then again, I’m from the home counties. Could it be a Northern expression?

  9. This just sounds odd to me, I agree with the comments above, especially that it sounds like something a person who does not have English as their first language might say.

  10. I too, tend to agree with the comments above, although I lack the expert knowledge of most of “us lot.”
    My immediate reaction to this was to stop and read it again. Suddenly, I feel like a treat, and Lindt chocolate could hit the spot…. Good advert…

  11. Glad that other people also e contradict Ben’s oft’ repeated and frustrating misinterpretation of what is and isn’t BrE.

  12. I think lynneguist has it nailed here, except that I believe the sign is deliberately playing on the dual meaning of “feeling a treat.” Translation: Are you feeling good (about yourself) today? Reward yourself with sugar!”

  13. It’s odd. Context would suggest it could be intended to mean “Do you fancy a treat?” but maybe they meant something else.

  14. Totally unfamiliar in the UK.

    In all honesty, we’d just have “Fancy a treat”.

  15. I agree with Ben that the sign is a probably a Dick van Dykism, where an American has been influenced by British English, but has got it wrong.

    “To feel like” has a sort of modified copula usage, as in “I feel like an idiot”, and a straightforward transitive usage, similar to “to fancy”, as in “I feel like a dance” or “I feel like a beer”. BrE is happy to drop the “like” in the former but not the latter, while AmE normally insists on the “like” in both.

    I think the sign-writer has noticed Brits omitting the “like” in the first usage, and has copied, but doing it with the wrong usage. The result is something that has to have the modified copula sense, “do you feel that you are a treat?” As Peter Moore says, this is grammatical, but has a very implausible meaning which is almost certainly not what the writer intended.

    • No, I missed another way to make “Feeling a treat?” grammatical, which is to treat it as using the core meaning if “to feel” as a transitive verb involving perception via the sense of touch. But that meaning is, if anything, even more implausible, and definitely not what was intended. If you already had one treat in your possession so you could feel it, it would reduce, not increase, your motivation to buy another.

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