Friday, 10 April 2015

What Would You Like?


This post is about ordering drink in a cafe/ bar.


Imagine you walk into a cafe/ bar. After exchanging customary greetings, the waiter says to you something like: "what would you like?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Qué te pongo?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Qué le pongo?


The question in Spanish is an invitation for you to order, which should be quite straightforward. Often giving the name of a drink would be sufficient. However, you can be much more communicative with a little effort. Doing so will also help you practise choosing between the more formal and less formal ways of speaking.

Using the verb in the question for your answer would be quite an appropriate starting point. If you take this option, you would choose between a less formal “ponme” and a more formal*póngame”.

Here are some examples of more formal answers :
  • Póngame un café, por favor (I'll have a coffee, please);
  • Póngame un café con leche, por favor (I'll have a white coffee, please);
  • Póngame una cerveza, por favor (I'll have a beer, please);
  • Póngame un agua mineral con gas, por favor (I'll have a fizzy mineral water, please);
  • Póngame un vino blanco, por favor (I'll have a white wine please);
  • Póngame un vino tinto, por favor (I'll have a red wine please);


You would use the more formal póngame if are not on first name terms with the waiter; or if you want to come across as formal/ keeping your distances. See how to reply when you are on first name terms.

Now you should practice answering the question:
¿Qué le pongo?

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