Mistaken words: taste and flavour

The words taste and flavour are often mistaken, although they are not interchangeable, as many English students think, and we use them differently.

Firstly, notice that the words taste and flavour are both verbs and nouns.

For example:

  • That soup tastes much better with garlic in it. (verb)
  • I like the taste of that chocolate cake. (noun)
  • The cook flavoured that dish with cardamom. (verb)
  • My favourite ice cream flavour is vanilla. (noun)

Secondly, let’s explain the difference in meaning between the two words.


The word taste refers to flavours we can feel with our senses: salty, sour, sweet, bitter.

  • Would you please have a taste of the pasta and tell me if it is too chilly?
  • Some people lose the sense of taste when they have a cold. They can’t feel the taste of food with their taste buds.
  • Piere is French, so he has a distinctive taste in wines.

The word flavour refers to the quality of something which affects the sense of taste.

  • Olive oil gives a rich flavour to the salad.
  • What is your favourite soup flavour?
  • People in Crete often flavour their food with lemon.
 Mistaken Words; Taste and Flavour
Mistaken Words; Taste and Flavour

More example sentences:

  • Although I like sour food, this marinated cabbage is too sour for my taste.
  • I like the distinctive taste of that wine.
  • We should add some chilly peppers for extra flavour.
  • The candies tasted like strawberries so I ate all of them.
  • I like food flavoured with garlic, despite the strong smell.

Remember that the words taste and flavour don’t have to refer to foods only.

  • He’s got good taste in cars.
  • The school lab had a scientific flavour.

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