Five English phrases you need to know for dinner parties

Do you like dinner parties? They can be fun, especially if they are also with people from other countries. They can be a great chance for you to practice your English. And, if they are at somebody’s house, they can also be a great chance for you to try foods from different cultures.

Here are five English phrases often used at dinner parties.

A potluck dinner

This is a kind of dinner party where everybody brings a different food to share. Often the food is homemade. Sometimes there might also be instructions on what kind of food to bring eg. a dessert.

It’s BYO-style

This is a little different to a potluck dinner. BYO means ‘Bring your Own’, so a BYO-style dinner is where everybody brings their own drinks. Sometimes it can also mean bringing their own food, too.

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Please RSVP

RSVP comes from the French phrase Répondez S’il Vous Plaît which means ‘please respond’. So, if the party is RSVP style, you need to tell the host if you plan to attend or not. There is usually a date you have to reply by. RSVP is usually used for more formal parties eg. weddings, special birthdays.

Let’s split the bill

‘Split the bill’ means everybody pays an equal amount for the total price of the dinner. But, if you want everybody to pay different amounts for their own food and drinks, you can say ‘Let’s go Dutch’ or ‘Let’s pay separately’.

It’s my shout

This means the speaker wants to pay for your (or everybody’s) dinner and drinks. It’s usually used at the end of the party when the bill arrives. ‘It’s on me’ or ‘It’s my treat’ also have the same meaning. If you hear this phrase during a more casual party, it might mean just paying for your (or everybody’s) drink at that time (=It’s my round).

Extra tip!:  If people from different countries are coming to your party, it’s a good idea to check the things they cannot eat or drink in their culture eg. pork, alcohol. Other people may also have special dinner needs eg. allergies, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free. One way to ask this generally is ‘Do you have any special dietary requirements?’

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