If you’re lucky, you will find a great group of people to socialize with during your stay in the United States. However, if you’re going out in groups, it may lead to a sticky situation where you don’t know how to split a bill. Here are the common ways groups divvy up costs in America.
“It’s my treat!”
Sometimes, one friend will pay for the group. In this case, you can go along as a guest and you will not need to pay. However, it would be polite if you return the favor in the future. In other words, if your friend takes you out to eat, plan on inviting him or her out to eat (and paying for the meal) soon.
“Let’s go dutch.”
If someone suggests going dutch, this means that he or she wants to split the bill equally among group members. That means that everyone will pay an equal percentage of the total cost, regardless of what you ordered or did. For example, if four people go out to eat and the bill totals $100, each person will need to pay $25. This is a very common way to pay for group events in the U.S., but some people dislike it because you may end up paying for more than you used.
“Let’s get separate checks.”
Since some people dislike going dutch, it is also common for groups to get separate checks. This means that the group completely divides expenses by person. To clarify, if you get separate checks, you will only be responsible for what you ordered or did because you separated the bills up front. If you want to do this at a restaurant, it is important to tell your server before you order.
As a final note, in the U.S., couples often count themselves as one person. This means that when you go dutch with a couple, they may not divide the bill by head. Obviously, this may shift the balance of the bill, so just be sure to clarify how you will pay before you go out.
Here are the answers from last week’s post. How did you do?
You can use our free e-book, 100 Words for Visitors to the U.S., to fill in the blanks in these sentences.
7. _____________, could I ask you a question?
8. It was great to see you. ________________________ to your mom.
9. “I think I met you at last week’s meeting.”
10. Let’s eat! ____________________!
Hopefully, you have tried to come up with some responses to the last blog on polite structures for business emails. Here I will share my answers. Of course, these are just one option of many. My answers are in italics below each scenario.
As you probably recall, I am responsible for compiling the sales report by next week. I have received many of the sections and it is coming together nicely. I wanted to check in with about how your section on returning customers is developing and when it might be ready to add to the report.
I have been thinking about our current situation and how we could solve our issue with data and tracking. I'd like to propose a potential solutions that we could easily implement in the coming year.
Since our merger with our partner company, we have struggled to merge our lists of clients and to create a systematic process for data collection. Synergetics Consultants is a local company that specializes in resolving this particular issue. I have taken the liberty of asking them for an estimate and they have said that they would be able to complete the work over 6 months for only $10,000.
In my opinion, it will be money well spent! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the issue.
Thank you, Sue, for sharing your thoughts on how to resolve our data and tracking problems. I think that it is a great jumping off point. Still, I have some concerns regarding the cost of the proposed solutions. Specifically, $10,000 is a rather large amount of money and it would significantly cut into our profits. Would it be possible to find a less expensive company? Alternatively, perhaps we could design the new data collection process in-house while still outsourcing the data merging process? I imagine this might reduce the cost.
Thank you all for your input.
Keeping in mind what you have learned about polite structures and social/cultural language skills, create a response for the following situations at work. This week, I want you to imagine you are writing emails to address different problems at work. Write down what you would say and your reason for responding that way.
What did you decide to say at this problematic hotel? My suggested responses are italicized.
East Bay ESL is an English language school for learners in the San Francisco East Bay.