Thank you so much for inviting me over for dinner!
I love your antique furniture, it's just gorgeous!
Dinner should be ready in half an hour, so just make yourself at home.
You have a truly beautiful home.
Is there anything I can do to help get dinner ready?
I'm happy to help any way I can!
I could use some help chopping onions if you don't mind.
And I'd love to get your help making the salad.
Everyone have a seat, dinner's just about ready.
Who wants to say grace?
Everyone dig in while it's still hot!
Could someone please pass me the butter?
If anyone needs more wine let me know, I'll be glad to pour you some!
Would you like a glass of wine with your meal?
Actually I don't drink, but thank you, that's very generous.
You should really try the steak, it's so tender, it's delicious!
Thank you, it looks wonderful!
I definitely would, except that I'm a vegetarian.
There's plenty of green beans left, can I serve you some?
Thank you, but I'm pretty stuffed.
Everything tasted delicious, thank you so much for having me!
Sure, it was our pleasure.
Don't you touch the dishes, we'll take care of those later.
For now let's just relax and enjoy each other's company!
As in many world cultures, it's polite in the United States to bring a gift to your host when accepting a
dinner invitation. Unlike in some cultures, it's not a social requirement, and you won't offend your host if
you arrive empty-handed. However it's a common practice that shows your graciousness and appreciation
for the invitation.
A bottle of nice wine is the most common gift to bring to a dinner, followed by fresh flowers. Sometimes
people bring accompanying dishes such as a salad or dessert. This is generally acceptable, but not as
commonly done, as it could interfere with the host's planned menu, or even be taken as a slight against the
hosts's abilities and level of preparation.
"Grace" refers to the prayer that many American families say before they eat. Usually, everyone at the table
holds hands and bows their head, then one person (usually the father or head of the household) says a prayer
aloud, thanking God for the food and company. As a guest, you won't be expected to lead the prayer, but
you should be ready to clasp hands with your neighbors and bow your head, to show respect.
*Usage alert!*: Note that "to be stuffed" has a very different meaning in American English than in British
English. In America it's simply a colloquial way to say that you've had plenty to eat. The British meaning is
vulgar, so be aware of that if travelling to the UK.
About the author
Copyright © 2010 by Mark McCracken, All Rights Reserved.
Author: Mark McCracken is a corporate trainer and author living in Higashi Osaka, Japan. He is the author of thousands of online articles as well as the Business English textbook, "25 Business Skills in English".