...this is the place to dine and be seen

Emil M

New Member
English - U.S.
Good morning! This past weekend I was reading about a new restaurant in town, and saw its advertisement. In part, it read, "Located at 415 XXX Rd. in XXX, this is the place to dine and be seen." I decided to tell the manager that this was phrased incorrectly, that perhaps it should say, "...this is the place in which to dine and be seen." He thanked me, but sent an email and asked for further help -- as in the rules of grammar that apply since he is an immigrant. Can someone tell me what rule applies to this, and whether I'm right? I believe I am, but can't explain it further. Thank you very much for your help.

Regards,
Emil
 
  • Dimcl

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Welcome to the forum, Emil. You haven't indicated why you think that "to dine" is incorrect. One dines in one's kitchen/dining room/favourite restaurant. I see nothing wrong with the advertisement.
     

    xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    It seems correct to me either way. Specifying that you dine inside of the restaurant strikes me as a bit redundant though.
     

    Emil M

    New Member
    English - U.S.
    Thank you for your quick responses. I am willing to tell the restaurant manager I made a mistake, apologize for my ignorance, and give this site credit. However, I am now interested for my own sake. For instance, if we were to leave "dine" out and say instead, "this is the place to be seen," wouldn't it seem like it's telling you, "Come look at this place!" Is it just me? Wouldn't it look better if it read, "this is the place to dine and be seen in"? Except, you wouldn't end it with a preposition?

    I don't know why it jumped out at me as awkward, but now that two of you have said it's OK, and I look at it again, it doesn't seem as wrong as it did. I'm glad I don't make a practice out of correcting people, and this will certainly teach me to keep my mouth zipped. = (
     

    xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    I dunno, it's advertising English. You don't want to use too many prepositions even if it would be a bit more clear as to where you're going to be eating.

    As I see it, grouping "to dine and be seen" implies that both verbs refer to the reader rather than to the business (it's certainly not "this is the establishment to dine"). The sense of the ad would indeed be different if we were to remove "dine" but that doesn't necessarily mean the original is wrong.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I think this is a fairly common expression. It dates back for decades, at least.

    "This is the place to see and be seen" is something I remember from old 1940s Hollywood gossip newsreels. I think it might be a variation on that type of phrase. Here's a recent example of that phrase:

    http://lastheplace.com/2007/11/14/planet-hollywood-celebrates-its-grand-opening-in-vegas/
    With a star studded line up of talent, Planet Hollywood will definitely be the place to see and be seen this weekend in Vegas.

    I agree with xqby that it is a reference to the customer. It would sound a little better to me with an adjective in front of "place":

    This is the hottest/latest/most fashionable/newest place to dine and be seen.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In this is the place to dine and be seen I think there is an ellipsis of in which. The question is whether the ellipsis is idiomatic and stylistically appropriate in the context.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliptical_construction

    I think I would avoid this kind of structure in very formal contexts - for example, if I were delivering a complex legal judgment. Arguably, if this is a very formal restaurant ellipsis of this kind might tend to lower the tone. Is one required to wear black tie at the restaurant in question?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_tie
     
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