Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Survival English for Thanksgiving Dinner with Americans

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

English phrases for Thanksgiving dinnerTomorrow is Thanksgiving!

I am excited!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's all about food and family!

Have you been invited to a Thankgiving dinner with some American friends? If so, I am going to help you prepare for it in today's lesson.

Today you will learn the exact phrases that you need to talk to native English speakers at the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Read the article and then enjoy your Turkey Day!



1) How to greet people when you arrive


greeting hugNative speaker: "Welcome, thanks for coming to our dinner!"

Your response:

  • "Thanks so much for having me."
  • "Here is some wine that I brought. Thanks for inviting me."
  • "I'm happy to be here, thank you"
  • "It's great to see you. Thanks for inviting me."


* Quick tip- if you get invited to a dinner at someone's home (Thanksgiving or any other evening, you should ask what you can bring. If the host says nothing, you should still bring a bottle of wine or something small just to be polite)



2) How to offer to help with the cooking

cooking thanksgiving dinner  English phrasesIn some homes, one person might get stuck in the kitchen with the cooking and everyone else might be out in the living room, watching football or playing cards.

In this case, it's nice to offer to help with the cooking. How can you say that?

Here are a few ways to say it:

  • "Is there anything that I can do to help?"
  • "How can I help?"
  • "Would you like a hand with the cooking?"
  • "Can I help you out with that pie?"



3) How to ask for a dish at the table


thanksgiving dinner how to ask for a plate in EnglishSo you are sitting at the Thanksgiving dinner table and everything looks great.

You are starving! In many homes, the dishes are spread out on the table and you have to serve yourself.

But maybe you don't know the correct way to ask someone to hand you a plate and you don't want to sound rude. But you are hungry!

Here is what you can say:

  • "Excuse me, could you please pass the mashed potatoes?"
  • "Would you mind handing me the bread?"
  • "Could I have the cranberry sauce please?"



4) How to say that you are satisfied

full after dinnerIt's the end of the dinner and you are feeling full and totally satisfied.

How do you compliment the chef on his or her work and express your appreciation for the meal?

Here are a few lines that you can use:

  • "Oh, that was great. Thanks so much."
  • "The meal was delicious. What a treat!"
  • "I am stuffed. It was amazing. Thank you."
  • "You did a great job with the sweet potatoes. I had never tried that recipe before."
  • "You are a great cook. Thank you for dinner."



I hope your enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner in the United States! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other questions or if I can help you in any way.


Keep studying!



 Photo credits: NealeA, theogeo, Dru Bloomfield, DeaPeaJay, juicylucymama

Topics: English Lessons, United States Culture, Vocabulary Workshop

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