Learning English

Inspiring language learning since 1943

English Change language

Session 26

Going to restaurants can be a wonderful experience… until the bill arrives! In today’s episode we are talking about the cultural issues surrounding who pays the bill.

Session 26 score

0 / 3

  • 0 / 3
    Activity 1

Activity 1

How to split the bill

Look at the Session Vocabulary – make sure you know what these words and phrases mean:

  • stingy
  • eat out


Which of these three countries spend the most amount of money on eating out?

a) Japan
b) Spain
c) France

Listen to the discussion and find out the answer.

Listen to find the answers. Then check them on the transcript below.

Show transcript Hide transcript

Yooyyaa! Gara English Together kan mata duree tibbanaa irratti mari’annuufi qooqa ittiin dubbachuuf si barbaachisu siif qoodnutti baga nagaan dhufte. Ani Caaliidha. Akkasumas Shaanii fi Toom na waliin jiru.

Hi, I’m Sian.

Hi, I’m Tom.

Tom, are you OK?

Well, I’ve just had lunch with Sian.

Oh nice! Where did you go?

We went for a Chinese, but Tom’s upset because of the bill. He’s being really stingy.

‘Stingy’ jechuun ‘sassattu u’. Was the bill a lot?

You mean Sian’s bill. She ordered far more than me, and then insisted that we split the bill!

Wanti sun ofeeggannoo cimaa kan fedhu fakkaata! Alaa nyaachuu wajjin wal qabatee gaafiin har’aa kunooti. Akka ‘Euromonitor International’ tti, biyyoota kanneen keessaa isa kamtu alaa nyaachuudhaan baasii maallaqaa olaanaa baasa?

a)    Jaappaan

b)    Ispeen

c)    Faransaay

Deebiisaa, sagantaa kana gara boodaarratti sitti himna.

I’d say France! They’re famous for their food. They must eat out a lot!

Well, maybe you should move there then, Sian. Why don’t you go to France? They probably won’t mind how much you order.

Oh, Tom, will you give it a rest!

Halli baasiiwwan mana nyaataa ittiin qooddannu oduu gidduu kanaatiin xinxalameera. Odeessa har’aa BBC Radio 4’s The Psychology of Money irraa argame kana caqasi. Akkaataa itti kaffaalleefi nyaata qabatamaatti nyaanne ilaalchisee maal jedhuu?

I think we need some expert advice here, and professor, Yuri Ganeesi is the man for the job.

If I’m thinking about taking about another glass of wine that will cost, say $15 and there are five people in the party, then if I pay for it myself, I think 'Oh, it’s $15, is it worth it?' But if I know that it's going to be divided by five, then I say 'Oh, my extra payment for this glass of wine is only $3, I might as well take it!' And that way, people end up consuming much more. The problem is, of course, that everyone is using this kind of thinking and, at the end, you end up with a much higher bill.

Hmm, interesting. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that what the professor’s saying is that the more people go out for a meal, the more food they order?

That’s right! People assume that if the bill is being divided, they will end up paying less.


I still think it’s bad form, though.

‘Bad form’ jechuun ‘yakka walhubbannoo hawaasummaarratti raawwatu’. Why do you think it’s bad form, Tom?

It’s bad form because you’re expecting people to pay for your own expensive choices! I think it’s just gluttony, plain and simple!

‘Gluttony’, jechuun albaadhessummaa. I think gluttony might be too strong a word, Tom.

Yes, everybody makes mistakes! It doesn’t mean they’re gluttonous. Sometimes people might just round down the prices, or forget their side dishes.

‘Round down’ jechuun gadi xiqqeessuudha. Perhaps they should try rounding their prices up, instead?

Exactly! So how do people share the bill where you are?

I think it is all similar in a way. For us, friends hanging out together just share the total bill.

And whilst we’re talking about eating habits in different countries why don’t you tell us the answer to today’s quiz?

Ah yes! Alaa nyaachuun, biyyi mata mataa namaanbaasii olaanaa baastu kam akka taate si gaafannee turre. Deebiinsaa C) Ispeeni. Namoonni nyaataaf waggaatti hanga $2184tti baasuu danda’u.

You see, Tom! I bet the Spanish don’t have scruples about ordering!

Caalii: ‘Scruples’ jechuun saalfii jechuudha.

Well, they probably split the bill fairly, Sian! You weren’t very scrupulous about ordering earlier, were you?

Honestly! I can’t believe this. I just like to splash out on a meal sometimes!

‘Splash out’ jechuun sassachuu malee baasii guddaa gochuu. O.K. I have an idea, why don’t we all go out after recording and really splash out?!

Great! And this time, if I’m only paying a fraction of the bill, I’ll order everything on the menu, just like Sian did at lunchtime.

It was delicious!

Ammaan kana Toom fayyida maallaqasaatiin gitu kan argachuuf jiru fakkaata. Atihoo? Wayita alaa nyaattu ‘stingy’ ni sassatta moo ‘splash out’ baasii irraa hafaa utuu hinsasatiin gochuu feeta? Akkasumas jechoota akka ‘gluttony’ albaadhessummaa fi ‘bad form’ yakka walhubbannoo hawaasummaarratti raawwatu’ ilaalleerra. Thanks for joining us and see you next time for more English Together! Bye!

Meaning & Use

stingy (adjective)

Stingy is an adjective which describes someone who does not like spending money, and is not generous. 
He is really stingy, so he never buys anyone a present.
Let's buy that car - don't be so stingy!

bad form (noun)

Bad form refers to an action that is socially unacceptable.
In some countries, it is bad form not to give a tip in a restaurant.
In Britain, it is bad form to visit someone without telling them first.

gluttony (noun)

Gluttony refers to excessive greed relating to food and drink.
You shouldn't have eaten all that - it's just gluttony!
That meal was just pure gluttony - I've never eaten so much!

scruples (noun)

If someone has scruples, it means that they are honest. 
I would hand in any money I found in the street - I still have my scruples!

splash out (verb)

If you splash out on something, you spend a large amount of money, usually on something you like.
I'm going to splash out on a holiday this summer.
splashed out on a new dress for the wedding.

How to split the bill

3 Questions

Choose the correct answer.

Deebii sirrii ta’e fili.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Over to you!

Do you think it's fair to split the bill? Are you stingy, or do you like to splash out? Tell us on our Facebook group.

Join us for our next episode of English Together when we will learn more useful language and practise your listening skills.
Turtii waliin qabaanneef galatoomi, barnoota dabalataa English Together torban ittaanu walitti deebina.

Session Vocabulary

  • stingy

    eat out 
    alaa nyaachuu

    bad form
    yakka waliigalteewwan hawaasummaa jiranrratti raawwatu 


    round up
    ol dabaluu

    round down
    gadi xiqqeessuu


    splash out
    sassata malee baasii gudda gochuu