Some people are afraid of using English because they are not confident and doubt their ability to speak the language efficiently. As a foreign language student myself, I too feel this way sometimes, but when you are “thrown into the deep end” and have to speak it, for example when visiting a restaurant where they don’t speak your native language, and have no other choice, I find that generally (much to my surprise) it goes quite well.
- To “throw someone in the deep end”: is an English Idiom, used when somebody is put into an unfamiliar situation without any preparation.
Here is a list of common phrases to help you get started.
ARRIVING AT THE RESTAURANT:
- May I please see the menu?
- Do you have a table for two?
- Do you have to make a reservation, or do you accept walk-ins?
AT THE TABLE:
- May I please see the drinks menu/menu/dessert menu?
- Do you have a children’s menu?
- What is the special today?
- What would you recommend to eat/drink here?
- Where can I find the bathroom/toilets?
- Can I please get the bill?
- Cheque please. – Same as asking for the bill
Can I please have a doggy-bag? (or a take-away bag)
- A doggy-bag/doggie bag: Is a container for leftover food. A person can request a container or ask the server to pack it for them, in order to take the food home with them.
Common idioms about eating/drinking:
- I am meeting someone for a sit-down meal: A meal had while eating at the restaurant.
- This food is a feast fit for a king: A tasty meal, usually involving a few courses.
- I am having a hearty breakfast: A large, filling breakfast.
- I am getting the next round of drinks: Drinks that you buy for the whole group you are with.
- I washed down my sandwich with a glass of water: A drink that you have after a meal.
- I think this food is an acquired taste: Food with a taste you get used to after a time.
- Susan eats like a bird: Someone who eats a small portion.
- This food is piping hot: Food that is very hot.
- This food is stone cold: Food that is very cold.
Idioms are not often taught when studying English, but are crucial to understanding everyday conversations of native speakers. They are also commonly used in meme’s, and in order to understand the humorous side of the meme, you would have to understand the meaning of the idiom itself. It is easy to look up idioms on the internet, but having classes with an English native speaker gives you the opportunity to learn which are commonly used and which ones aren’t.
If you are planning to travel, whether it be for business or leisure it would be a good idea to book some online classes with an English native speaker to get some practice before you go, or even if you just want to further your knowledge of the English language.