Je bois un thé au gingembre avec du miel.
zhuh bwah uh tay oh zhaa-zhah-brah-veck dew meeYELL. Click below to hear this.*
I’m drinking ginger and honey tea .
Let’s sort this out. The tea itself is ginger-flavored, but I sweetened it with honey. English doesn’t always make that distinction, but French prefers to.
If the tea is made from a specific substance (like ginger), you say à la, au, or aux. If you are adding something to it (like sugar, milk, or honey), you say avec (du, de la, des).
That’s the rule of thumb, anyway! There’s always an exception, isn’t there? The obvious one is le café au lait, but there are many others. Did I say this is a very loose rule?
And while we’re at it, there can be a distinction between Je prends un thé and Je bois un thé. The first is preferred when you are ordering your tea, and the second when you are in the act of drinking it.
Now, if you will excuse me, I have to finish my tea and go back to bed. My week-old cold has just decided to go full-blown and turn into my annual case of bronchitis.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: