Attend / Wait on / Serve

ggiglio

New Member
Portuguese (Brazil)
Hello everyone,

I've been living in Australia for 2 months and I was wondering if you can help me with a very simple question...

I'll give you an example: I go to a restaurant, order something to eat/drink and after this I take a seat. Then few minutes later, a waiter comes to me to get my order. Can I just say:

"Thank you, I have already been attended (served / waited on)."

Which of these verbs is more common to use in this situation? Or, is there a better expression to use in this case?

Cheers!
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Just be straightforward, e.g. "I've already ordered, thanks."

    Think a moment: If all you've done is order, you haven't been served anything. :)
     

    ggiglio

    New Member
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    Just be straightforward, e.g. "I've already ordered, thanks."

    Think a moment: If all you've done is order, you haven't been served anything. :)
    Thank you sdgraham. Let's make things easier, I'll use "order" next time! ;)

    But I could use "to attend" or "to wait on", as well? Do they mean the same in this context?

    Cheers
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "attend" with respect to a waiter taking an order just doesn't work, i.e. we (at least in AE) don't use it that way, in my experience.

    Our dictionary for wait on says:
    wait on, [~ + on + object]
      • to serve food or drink to.
    ... and you don't have any yet.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    "attended" would sound odd to me, but they say odd things in Oz, so maybe a speaker from there can help.

    "waited on" works where I'm from in the Midwest of the USA.

    If someone has already taken your order, then another waiterperson asks you for your order, you can say: Thanks, but I've already been waited on.

    It's passive.
     

    stez

    Senior Member
    english - australia
    We may very well say odd things in Australia, but in this case 'I have already ordered' would be the standard response. I do hope this meets with your approval.
     

    Kirusha

    Senior Member
    Point taken. Odd grammar for a restaurant. :)
    Come to think of it, though, I vaguely recall hearing "Are you being served?" in the UK (might have been a self-service restaurant).
     
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    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Come to think of it, though, I vaguely recall hearing "Are you being served?" in the UK (might have been a self-service restaurant).
    Yes, we certainly do use that in the UK.

    In the OP's example,
    "Thank you, I'm being served." would work in BE, irrespective of what point in the actual ordering and serving process you'd reached. :)
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Point taken. Odd grammar for a restaurant. :)
    Come to think of it, though, I vaguely recall hearing "Are you being served?" in the UK (might have been a self-service restaurant).
    "Are you being served?" would be a question a clerk/shop assistant might ask you in a department store -- and as a result, it was the name of a BBC situation comedy set in one.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Are_You_Being_Served?

    Getting back to ggiglio's question, we don't use the word "attend" that way in English. I suspect you have a Portuguese that sounds like "attend", but whose meaning is not the same as that of the English word. Such words are known as "false friends."
     

    ggiglio

    New Member
    Portuguese (Brazil)
    Thank you everyone for participating this discussion! :)

    It was so helpful for me!

    Getting back to ggiglio's question, we don't use the word "attend" that way in English. I suspect you have a Portuguese that sounds like "attend", but whose meaning is not the same as that of the English word. Such words are known as "false friends."
    Yes, as you said, in Portuguese we'd use an expression equivalent to "I've been attended already". But now I've figured out this verb "to attend" is a 'false friend' and cannot be used in this situation. Thanks.
     
    Last edited:
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