Here is a podcast special. The podcast will be back, probably in January and will be weekly again.
Today’s podcast is about New Year.
New Year Special
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Also, you can stream it on Stitcher here or in the sidebar.
A few of my students have part-time jobs in cafés and restaurants. This post is for them and anyone else who needs to use English in restaurants.
‘May’ or ‘can’?
Generally, when you are taking orders for people, use ‘may’; it’s more formal and customers should be respected. ‘Can’ is more informal and it’s not really a problem if you use ‘can’ instead of ‘may’ but ‘may’ is more appropriate.
How to ask about takeaway service
One of my students has asked:
Which is better, “For here or to go?” or “Is this to eat in or take away?”
The answer is both are fine. The first one is more informal, the second slightly more formal.
Here in Japan, at a lot of restaurants, it is common to take the bill/check to the cashier. At other places it is common to pay at the table.
Other little things
Japanese people can be very particular about how food ought to be served. The photograph at the top is from my class blackboard.
When the sand (in the timer) has all reached the bottom, (your tea) is ready to drink.
Not all of your food will be ready at the same time. We will bring each dish as soon as it is ready.
You might find these posts particularly useful.
Video: Describing Food
Food Descriptions are Better than Dish Names
When you talk to or about someone you can use their name first and then afterwards use a pronoun. The problem with this is that it you can, without bad intentions, insult people or sound ignorant.
When you have to say something that needs to be in order you need to sequence your ideas. This can be done with the past, present and future.
There are two main ways to do it: numbering your steps or without numbers.
Can you sum up, that is repeat something in a short way? This is what you should learn if you want to make yourself clear when explaining things.