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Beware of invitations! PDF
Wednesday, 06 January 2010 20:04

Beware of invitations!

When you are ‘invited’ for a meal in a restaurant, do you expect to pay for your own meal or not? When an acquaintance in a bar ‘invites’ you to have a drink, is he going to pay?

Well, you may be surprised to learn that it depends on your nationality!

In Spanish, French and German, and possibly other languages also, invitar, inviter and einladen respectively mean something very different to the English ‘to invite’.

For, you see, to us anglosajones, to be ‘invited’ only means that we are being asked to join in an activity, whereas our continental cousins mean they are going to treat us to that activity and pay too.

This can, of course, lead to confusion and awkwardness, so in mixed company it’s as well to clarify things first. But the rule of thumb is, here in Spain - and in France and Germany - their words for ‘to invite’ are best translated as ‘to treat’.

Now I’m off to the bar to invitar a mi amigo Antonio a tomar una cerveza ... and I shall be paying!


Paul Whitelock

Paul is a Joint Honours graduate in Spanish and German, a qualified teacher (PGCE) and has a Member of the Institute of Linguists (MIL) qualification.

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