... my offer to buy her lunch

Mr Bones

Senior Member
España - Español
Hello, friends. I'd like you to comment on the following use of the verb buy:

She is so taken up with her swimming that she wouldn't even take me up on my offer to buy her lunch in the best restaurant in town (English Phrasal Verbs in Use).

I think I understood the meaning: someone wanted to treat this busy lady with a nice lunch. But my question is:

Is this the usual way to ask someone to go with you to a restaurant when you intend to pay?

I'm asking this because buy, in this context, sounds inevitably weird to our Spanish ears. It sounds like a cheap verb for something nice.

Would you say, let me buy you a dinner tonight?

What other possibilities you have in this situation? Offer? Invite? Treat?

Thanks a lot, Mr Bones.
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    It all depends on context. (I'm sorry... that's such an annoying answer... but it's true.)

    "Let me buy you dinner" is a common way to phrase it to repay someone for extra effort or a kindness or to offer to take someone to dinner with no romantic ties or other obligation implied. It can be a way to cheer someone up who is feeling low, or just a whim. It's very casual.

    "Let's go out to dinner. It will be my treat." is a nicer way to invite someone to dinner who is a friend or acquaintance. You could also say, "Let me treat you to dinner."

    "I'd like to take you out to dinner" implies more of a date. It's still not very formal, but it does imply some sort of personal interest in the person and a desire to get to know them better.

    "Would you like to join me for dinner tonight?" would be a more formal expression.

    There are dozens of ways to express this. To me, "buy you dinner" is the one of the most informal and most casual ways of saying it. There are even more casual ways: "I'll pick up the tab", "I'll spring for dinner", "dinner's on me", etc.
    < Previous | Next >