cafeteria, canteen, dining hall

< Previous | Next >

Song

New Member
China Chinese
Dear friends,

Can anyone explain in detail the difference between "cafeteria", "canteen", and "dining hall"?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • Musical Chairs

    Senior Member
    Japan & US, Japanese & English
    I think of "dining hall" as a little more formal than just a "cafeteria," though both places are where you eat.

    A "canteen" is a container you carry water in.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Dear friends,

    Can anyone explain in detail the difference between "cafeteria", "canteen", and "dining hall"?

    Thank you in advance.
    In American English, a cafeteria is a self-serve restaurant while a canteen is a military cafeteria. A dining hall could be a large room in public housing or a nursing home where some residents are served meals, or a large room in a church or lodge used occasionally for serving meals.
     

    Marty10001

    Senior Member
    Ireland/English
    In British English:
    Cafeteria is a self-service restaurant.
    Canteen is a restaurant (usually cheaper) in a factory or office or military base but necessarily so.
    Dining Hall is where meals are served, say in a collage. There might be no choice or menu - you eat what you are given.
     

    Kurt Jiang

    Senior Member
    china mandarin chinese
    Hi ,there

    I am a student in my own country, where the students don't possess a private kitchen(differing from a lot of west country according to my french friend's description), so we go to a special restaurant to eat everyday with a featured student card. We can precharge our money in to this card and pay the food by it.addtionally, this kind of place is very large, and we just have 5 in my whole campus ,compared with the very huge amount of the students. But I am not very clear the name of this "restautant". Can you image what I have express? If so ,would you like to give me some advice?

    Kurt!
     

    vicky1027

    Senior Member
    usa english
    Hi ,there

    I am a student in my own country, where the students don't possess a private kitchen(differing from a lot of west country according to my french friend's description), so we go to a special restaurant to eat everyday with a featured student card. We can precharge our money in to this card and pay the food by it.addtionally, this kind of place is very large, and we just have 5 in my whole campus ,compared with the very huge amount of the students. But I am not very clear the name of this "restautant". Can you image what I have express? If so ,would you like to give me some advice?

    Kurt!
    Okay, I'm sorry I can explain this a little better. A cafeteria is when you go through a line, choose the foods you would like and pay when you get to the cashier. And yes, at a university, this can be done through a student card.

    A restaurant is when you sit down, order something on the menu, have it served to you, and pay when you are done eating.

    A dining hall (at a university) is when walking inside, they swipe your card and then you can eat whatever and as much as you want.

    I hope that's a better explanation!

    Vicky
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Beware of simple explanations.
    A particular difficulty is that the terms restaurant and cafeteria may be used differently in public establishments versus educational institutions, and in the UK versus the US.
    I suggest you take all of the above, check some dictionary definitions, use the search engine of your choice, and try to come to some kind of general sense of what these terms mean and how they are used. Then pick the one that best matches your own situation :)
     

    kgildner

    Member
    English - Ottawa Valley
    Hey British English experts,

    We're currently debating over whether to use the term "cafeteria" (as we've used in past years) or "canteen" in one of our publications to denote the category of self-service eateries in general (and not work canteens specifically). For your information: we use BE as a standard in our publications, but since we're addressing an international audience, will revert to the internationally best-understood term in case the BE norm might lead to confusion.

    What seems to be the consensus (if any) amongst BE speakers? Is "canteen" the general term that you would use when going to dine at work, at a museum, at a university, etc.?

    From my CE perspective, I would tend to using "cafeteria" as the general term for all such establishments, while "canteen" would be especially common in the work world. But I know that this isn't necessarily true all over the world.

    Thanks in advance!

    P.S.: I realize that this topic has already been addressed in this forum, but I couldn't find any satisfactory answers to my problem in the existing threads.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Canteen for workplace and university. We don't actually use cafeteria a lot here. We're more likely to talk about a café at a museum.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    kgildner, I've merged your thread with one of the existing threads. I hope that thread, along with the replies you've already received, answer your questions, but if not, you're welcome to add them to this thread. :)

    JustKate, English Only moderator
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I just wanted to add that at my university hall of residence in Scotland, the place was called the refectory. That appears to be a less usual term but dictionaries indicate that it is acceptable in AmE and BrE.
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I just wanted to add that at my university hall of residence in Scotland, the place was called the refectory. That appears to be a less usual term but dictionaries indicate that it is acceptable in AmE and BrE.
    If by "acceptable," you mean "can be found in a dictionary," I suppose so. ;)

    I daresay that most Americans are unfamiliar with the word unless they've toured old English monasteries. :rolleyes:

    I never encountered it in the universities I attended.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    At the risk of drifting off-topic here, I see that Oxford Dictionaries Online define refectory as: A room used for communal meals in an educational or religious institution.

    Some English universities certainly still boast a "refectory", although I'd regard it as somewhat pretentious in a school. :)
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top