How to: Ordering and Asking for

Learn phrases you’ll hear and want to use in conversational English when ordering or asking for something.

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Video Text:

Today I’m going to go over a few phrases you might say when ordering or asking for something. When I’ve lived abroad, I’ve always worried about being polite enough when I ask such questions. So, that’s why I’m going to go over it today. Let’s take, for example, when you’re ordering something at a restaurant or a grocery store, the deli counter, something like that. You can say, I’d like. I’d like the spaghetti, whatever. I’d like. This has the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong [aɪ]. The tongue then moves up into position for the D. I’d, I’d like. the L consonant sound, ll, ai, the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong, I’d like. And the K sound, where the tongue comes up and releases. I’d like, I’d like.

You can also say I’ll have. I’ll have a pound of turkey. I’ll, again, the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong followed by the L consonant sound, have. Followed by the unvoiced H sound, hh, hh, ha-, the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat vowel [æ] where the tongue is high in the back. I’ll ha- vv. Bottom lip moves up to vibrate against the bottom of the front top teeth. Have, I’ll have. You can also say I’ll have, I’ll have. I think that’s what I generally say. That has the ‘aw’ as in ‘law’ vowel [ɔ] sound, where the lips are a little rounded and the cheeks come in a little bit. I’ll, I’ll have, I’ll have.

A very polite way to ask for something would be to say, Could I please have … or May I please have … May I please have the hamburger, medium. Could begins with the K consonant sound, kk, where the tongue moves up and releases from the back of the throat, could. The ‘uh’ as in ‘pull’ vowel [ʊ] sound, cou-ou-ou-ld, the tongue moves up, dd, and pulls away to make the D, could, or may, which begins with the M consonant sound, mm. Ay, followed by the ‘ay’ as in ‘say’ diphthong [eɪ]. Could/May I, I, the ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong, and then please. The P consonant sound, pp, pl-, pl-, followed by the L consonant sound. Plea-, the ‘ee’ as in ‘she’ vowel [i], plea-se. And finally, the voiced zz sound. Could I please, may I please. Have, the H, ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ [æ], and V sound, have. Could I please have? May I please have?

If you want to use something that belongs to someone else, you can say, could I borrow …? Or could I please borrow? Could I borrow your pencil? Borrow begins with the B consonant sound, bb. The ‘ah’ as in ‘father’ [α], bo-, bo-, borr -. The R consonant [ɹ] sound, so the tongue pulls back and up. Barr-ow. Ow, the ‘oh’ as in ‘no’ diphthong [oʊ]. Borrow. Stress is on the first syllable. Bor-row.

If you want to use something that belongs to someone else or that someone else is using, you can say, can I see that when you’re done? Can I have that when you’re done? Can I use that when you’re done? The word can, which has the ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ vowel sound, is reduced here to kn, with the schwa [ə]. Can, can, can I? The ‘ai’ as in ‘buy’ diphthong. Can I have that? The H consonant sound, hh, ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’, and vv, V consonant sound. Can I have — that begins with the voiced TH [ð] sound, so the tongue comes through the teeth, th, and you make a sound with your vocal cords. Can I have that? The ‘aa’ as in ‘bat’ vowel sound, that. Can I have that? Can I have that? The T here is a stop, and it’s not actually, tt, released, Can I have that when? That – so the tongue does move up into position for the T, can I have that, when, but then the mouth just goes straight into the next sound, which is the W sound, ww, where the lips make a very tight circle. Can I have that when – ‘eh’ as in ‘bed’ [ε] followed by the N sound. Can I have that when you’re done. You’re is reduced here, and it has just the schwa, you’re, so that would be the Y consonant [j] sound, schwa and R sound. Can I have that when you’re done. The D consonant sound, dd, the ‘uh’ as in ‘butter’ [ʌ], uh, very relaxed sound, do-ne. And the tongue moves up into position for the N. Can I have that when you’re done?

That’s it, and thanks for using Rachel’s English.

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