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Last updated at 14:20 GMT, Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Bottomless

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Li starts to get worried when her colleagues talk about going for a 'bottomless' meal. What does it mean? Find out more by listening to this programme.

A glass of drink

One glass is never enough!

The script for this programme

(In the office, people are discussing where they should go for a meal)

A: OK, everyone it's 6 o'clock, I'm done. I think it's time we go for dinner!

B: I'm starving. Shall we go to Big Eaters? I love their salad - you can go bottomless.

C: I'm not a salad person. How about some fish and chips? Happy Fisher offers bottomless chips.

D: I suggest we go to Happy Chicken across the road. We can go bottomless with any soft drinks. I'm very thirsty.

A: Do we know anywhere that we can go bottomless on the main course?

D: Oh, that can only be your home!

Li: Oh my God! Neil, what are you talking about? Are we really going 'bottomless' tonight? I'm afraid I can't go to the restaurant naked.

Neil: Oh Li. You have misunderstood the word 'bottomless'.

Li: Oh? What does it mean then?

Neil: Here it simply means 'unlimited' or 'boundless' - you can have as much food or drink as you like for the same price.

Li: Ah, it sounds like a buffet, doesn't it? You can eat as much as you like. Can I say 'I had a bottomless buffet'?

Neil: No, it's not a term people say or use, mostly you see it only on the menu in a restaurant.

Li: I have seen the word 'unlimited', but I've never seen the word 'bottomless'.

Neil: Yes. They mean the same thing. Nowadays a lot of restaurants do this to attract customers, but the 'bottomless' only applies to soft drinks. Do you know why?

Li: Because they are cheap! I guess no pubs in the whole of England would offer a bottomless service!

Neil: Shame about that! However, there is another common expression you may come across: 'a bottomless pit'. Let's listen to some examples:

  • It's a poor country with a bottomless pit of debt.

  • Jack will eat any food that's left over. His stomach is a bottomless pit!

Neil: This expression is used to describe someone or something that always needs or wants more of whatever they are given, especially money.

Li: I see. What a vivid expression!

Neil: Finally the word 'bottomless' does have another meaning - not wearing trousers.

Li: See, that's what I thought, going naked. Now that you have explained, I must not make the same mistakes again! Thanks Neil.

Neil: You're welcome Li. For more idiomatic expressions just log onto bbclearningenglish.com. Bye!

Li: Bye!

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