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Who Pays for Lunch When You’re Out with English Speakers?

Gabby: This is an All Ears English Podcast, Number 197: “Who Pays for Lunch When You’re Out with English Speakers?” [Instrumental]

Gabby: Welcome to the All Ears English Podcast, where you’ll finally get real, native English conversation with your hosts, Lindsay McMahon, the ‘English Adventurer’ and Gabby Wallace, the ‘Language Angel,’ from Boston, USA.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: In today’s episode, you’ll learn how to avoid one of the most awkward, possible misunderstandings when you go out for lunch.

[Instrumental]

Gabby: Guys, if you wanna (want to) get fluent fast, you need to get help one-on-one. It’s so important that you get a lot of time to practice speaking English and also that you get feedback or corrections from your one-on-one teacher. I recently took a few different language lessons on a website called italki. It’s all one-on-one, all online with your choice of teacher for your choice of language that you’re learning. One-on-one helped me so much because that teacher’s attention was 100% on me and I had to talk a lot. So, I felt like I was getting fluent really quickly. I’d like to recommend that you try Italki for learning English. And now, for a very limited time, All Ears English listeners, will get ten US dollars to use toward Italki classes. So visit AllEarsEnglish.com/Italki – that’s i-t-a-l-k-i- – to claim your ten US dollars for italki classes NOW before it’s gone.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: Hey, guys. Remember your English is a Porsche and if you wanna (want to) keep tuning up your Porsche, if you wanna (want to) know all of the TOP 15 FIXES today, go straight to AllEarsEnglish.com/TOP15. And you can get that in a free e-book right away.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: Hey, Gabby.

Gabby: Hey, Lindsay. How (are) you doing?

Lindsay: Great. “I’d like to invite you out for dinner tonight. Do you wanna (want to), would you like to have dinner tonight? Grab some dinner, maybe some pizza or something?”

Gabby: “Yeah, you mean you’re gonna pay?”

Lindsay: “(Um), no. Why did you think I was gonna (going to) pay? I just wanna (want to), I want us to go out for dinner. It’ll be fun, but (I mean), I, (I mean), I don’t think I’m gonna (going to) pay.”

Gabby: “But you said…”

Lindsay: “I thought we would go Dutch.”

Gabby: “You said you’re inviting me, you, you’d like to invite me.”

Lindsay: “Well, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna (going to) pay. That just means that I’m inviting you to go out. (I mean) wh-why are you so confused?”

Gabby: “I don’t get it. I’m confused.”

Lindsay: Oh, no. okay. So this might be a situation that you guys have been in.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Today is Number 7 of our TOP 15 FIXES to tune up your Porsche and to make your English shiny, and new and awesome.

Gabby: Yeah. So there’s a little confusion around the word, or the verb ‘to invite.’ In English, we just use it to extend an invitation or to ask someone to do something together. But it has nothing to do with actually paying, right?

Lindsay: Right. Exactly. I think part of the problem with this is that people are taking the verb ‘invite,’ the equivalent of that verb in their native language…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …and that actually means if you’re, (you know), maybe if you speak Spanish, maybe Portuguese, maybe French…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: It probably means I’m gonna (going to) pay and then you’re translating it into English and you’re assuming that it means the same thing…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …but it doesn’t.

Gabby: Yeah, that’s right. So just be careful about assuming what people mean and also if you use the verb ‘to invite’ be aware that it’s not clear to the person you’re speaking to. It’s, it’s not clear who’s going to pay, right. So…

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: …if Lindsay says, “(You know), I, I would like to invite you to dinner,” like I said, “Oh, sure great.” But my expectations should be that we’d probably split the bill or go Dutch.

Lindsay: Right. Or go Dutch.

Gabby: Yeah. That’s more common, right?

Lindsay: Exactly. But if we actually do wanna (want to) pay for someone – (you know), let’s say we go to dinner and I say, “I wanna (want to) pay for you,” what would I actually say when the bill comes? What could I…?

Gabby: Well, you could say, you could say, “I wanna (want to) pay for you.”

Lindsay: Yeah, “I wanna (want to) pay for that,” “I’d like…” or there are other things we could say, right?

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Could say, “Oh, I’ve, I’ve got this.” Or…

Both: “I got this.”

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: (Uh-hm).

Gabby: “I’ve got this,” or “I got this,” “I’ve got this one,” “I’ve got it this time.”

Lindsay: “It’s on me.” Right, “It’s on me.”

Gabby: Ooh, I like that one. Yeah. “It’s on me.”

Lindsay: “Hey, it’s on me. No problem.”

Gabby: Yeah. (Um)…

Lindsay: “Lemme (let me) get this.”

Gabby: “Lemme (let me) get this.”

Lindsay: “Lemme (let me) get this.”

Gabby: Yeah, or maybe, “Oh, you can get it next time, I’ve got (it) this time.”

Lindsay: Right, or maybe “I’ll take this,” (right), you, you, you say, “I’ll take this,” and then you grab the bill and you pull it towards, towards you.

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: “Don’t worry about it. Don’t worry about it.” (Right).

Lindsay: “I got it, don’t worry about it.”

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: So there are a lot of ways you could make it clear that you wanna (want to) pay, but it’s not by saying “I invite you,” “I’d like to invite you.”

Gabby: Exactly.

Lindsay: And if we say, “I invite you,” it’s also not the greatest English either, just saying, “I invite you.”

Gabby: Yeah, that’s not real English. That might be a translation, like a direct translation from your native language as well. So you should say, “I’d like to invite you,” or just use a different phrase altogether like “Do you want to go out to dinner with me?” or “Do you wanna (want to) have dinner with me?” or, (um), “Would you like to have dinner?” “Would you like to eat something?” Right? (I mean)…

Lindsay: Yeah, “Wha-wha-what…” or “Why don’t we get dinner?”

Gabby: Yeah.

Gabby: “Why don’t we…?” Yeah, yeah. So there’s a lot of different ways to invite without even using the verb ‘to invite.’

Lindsay: Yeah, so just (bewa-), be aware of what you’re doing when you’re translating from your native language…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …into English. And just remember, don’t get yourself in a, in a hole. Don’t, don’t get yourself in a corner there…

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: …with people. Yeah.

Gabby: Right. Well, (uh), I just remembered, (um), lunch today. Actually, I, (uh), I remember a few different ways that my (co-wor-), co-workers or colleagues and I invite each other to go out for lunch. (Um), we say, “Hey, are you going… are you gonna (going to) get lunch?” Or, (you know), ar-are, “When are you going to get lunch? Are you going now?” And so, that’s a very indirect way to invite someone, but just by asking, “Hey, are you gonna (going to) get lunch?” that’s a good way to segue into an invitation, right?

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: ‘Cause (because) I…

Lindsay: (I-), is that your native speaking colleagues or your…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …Japanese colleagues?

Gabby: Native.

Lindsay: Okay.

Gabby: Native speakers say, “Hey, you gonna (going to) get lunch?” (Um), or “What time are you getting lunch?” Because honestly, it can feel like a little bit direct if just out of nowhere you walk up to someone and say, “Do you wanna (want to) get lunch?” Or, “I’d…”

Lindsay: Yeah.

Gabby: “…I’d like to invite you to lunch.” It’s like, “Oh, o-okay.” No warning or anything. So you might start with a question like, “Are you going to get lunch?” Or “Have you eaten yet?” Right?

Lindsay: Yeah. We like to be indirect ‘cause (because) we don’t like to be …

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …rejected. If you go up to someone and say, “Would you like to get lunch with me?”

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: That’s very direct and they could say, “No, thanks.”

Gabby: Yeah. It’s, it’s very direct. (Um), another thing that happened – this is, this is regarding paying. So, a bunch of us in the office told one of the ladies in the office that we wanted to take her out for lunch, so we said – (you know), I don’t wanna (want to) say her name, but, (um), let’s just say – wha-what should her name be? (Um), ‘Jane’?

Lindsay: Sure.

Gabby: Okay.

Lindsay: ‘Jane’ is perfect.

Gabby: So, ‘Jane’, we said, (um), “’Jane we want to take you out to lunch.” So that’s another phrase, actually, that I don’t think we’ve said yet. (You know)…

Lindsay: Right.

Gabby: “I, I wanna (want to) take you out to lunch.” So take you out implies that you’re going to pay, right?

Lindsay: Right, right.

Gabby: So, we did. We took ‘Jane’ out to lunch and then when the bill came, ‘Jane’ took the bill…

Lindsay: Oh.

Gabby: …and paid for everyone.

Lindsay: Oh, my god. Scandalous.

Gabby: Well, (you know), it was really nice of her, but it was kind of awkward because we really wanted to pay for her and she didn’t let us. So…

Lindsay: Wow.

Gabby: …I think this can be a complicated issue sometimes, (like), culturally, who pays for the bill, (you know).

Lindsay: Yeah. And sometimes it, it really depends on the situation, depends on your relationship with the person. But sometimes, it’s…

Gabby: Yeah.

Lindsay: …better just to accept. If someone wants to pay for you, just say “Thanks, (you know), I’ll get it next time.”

Gabby: Right.

Lindsay: Or, “I really… Thanks. I really appreciate that. That’s really nice of you.”

Gabby: Right. And I think that’s the American point-of-view and I agree. I don’t know if there’s a different way of thinking in other cultures, but maybe, maybe you guys can let us know. You can send us a message, an email, a message on Facebook, (uh), (you know), comment on the blog. Let us know how you deal with (um), (you know), paying for the bill.

Lindsay: Yeah, okay. Thanks guys.

[Instrumental]

Lindsay: If you wanna (want to) put your ears into English more often, be sure to subscribe to our podcast in iTunes on your computer or on your smartphone. Thanks so much for listening and see you next time

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