How to Offer Things

Going out for Dinner
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Offering Something

Offering things in English is important for every time you want to be polite, host people at your home or work, etc. The phrases below cover both how to offer various items to your guests, as well as how to accept offers graciously. Use these phrases generously as you would treat your guests generously!

It's common to use both 'would you like' and modal forms such as 'Can I ...', 'May I ...' to offer something.

Here are some of the most important phrases used to offer something:

Can I get you some ...?
Would you like some ...?
May I offer you some ...?
Would you like me to get you some ....?

Bob: Can I get you something to drink?
Mary: Yes, that would be nice. Thank you.

Jack: May I offer you some tea?
Doug: Thank you.

Alex: Would you like some lemonade?
Susan: That would be nice. Thanks for offering.

NOTE: Always use 'some' words when offering someone something.

Informal

These phrases are used when offering something in an informal situation.

How about some ...?
What about some ...?
What do you say about some ...?
Are you up for some ...?

Dan: What about something to drink?
Helga: Sure, do you have any scotch?

Judy: Are you up for some dinner?
Zina: Hey, thanks. What's on the menu?!

Keith: What do you say about going bowling?
Bob: That sounds like a good idea!

Accepting Offers

Accepting offers is just as important, or even more important than offering things.

Make sure to thank your host. If you don't want to accept an offer, be sure to politely refuse. Offering an excuse is also a good idea in order not to offend your kind host.

The following phrases are commonly used when accepting offers:

Thank you.
I'd love to.
I'd love some.
That would be nice.
Thank you.

I'd like ...

Frank: May I get you something to drink?
Kevin: Thank you. I'd like a cup of coffee.

Linda: Would you like me to get you some food?
Evan: That would be nice. Thank you.

Homer: May I offer you something to drink?
Bart: Thank you. I'd like a whiskey. 

Politely Refusing Offers

Sometimes it's necessary to politely refuse an offer even if it's a kind offer. In this case, use these phrases to politely refuse offers. It's important to provide a reason why you want to refuse an offer, rather than just saying 'no'. 

Thank you, but....
That's very kind. Unfortunately, I ...
I'd like to, but ...

Jane: Would you like some cookies?
David: Thank you, but I'm on a diet.

Allison: How about a cup of tea?
Pat: I'd like to have a cup of tea. Unfortunately, I'm late for a meeting. Can we make a rain check?

Avram: How about some wine?
Tom: No thank you. I'm watching my weight.