For Here Or To Go?


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

Take Part in Seminar Discussions

Campus Week


This week it’s Campus Week at Get Great English. I know the term hasn’t started yet but think of it as a little time to prepare before packing bags, unpacking, moving into halls of residence or a flat.

Participating in seminars can be quite intimidating, especially for non-native speakers in classes that have a native-speaking majority. Here are some tips to help you take part in seminar discussions with more confidence. This may also be useful in meetings at work or even informal discussions among friends about music, books and films.

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