ordering in French

Hello all,

Those of you that are fluent / native / experienced French speakers - how does one order things in cafes / bars / at train stations?

I'm familiar of course with the 'je voudrais' route - but that sounds rather amaturish to me, some have suggested the more typical French versions of 'je peux avoir' or 'vous pouvez me donner', but what actually makes sense / is not too alien to a French ear?



November 3, 2014


Hohenems gave you great answers!

Others I sometimes use:

-Je vais prendre (...); I'll take/have (...)

-J'aimerais avoir (...); I'd like to have (...)

November 3, 2014

*As a bilingual anglo in Quebec...

Depending on how the server approached me (what question is asked), or what it is I need/want, I commonly used one of the following:

  • Est-ce que je peux avoir (article, noun) s'il vous plaît ?
  • Puis-je avoir (article, noun) s'il vous plaît ?
  • (Article, noun), s'il vous plaît.
  • Pourriez-vous me donner (article, noun) s'il vous plaît ? (I might use this if I was asking for a free item, like extra packs of ketchup at a fast-food place)
November 3, 2014

As a less bilingual anglo in Québec:

  • "Je prends ..."
  • "Je vais avoir .."
  • "Avez-vouz du ..."
  • "Est-ce que je peux avoir ..."
November 4, 2014

Thanks - the second one there, 'puis-je avoir...' - is that 'then I'll have...'?

November 3, 2014

Puis-je avoir = est-ce que je peux avoir = can I have/may I have.

The expected verb inversion (je peux = peux je?) sounds blah, so puis-je is used instead.
Here's a wiki note:

Now generally used only in the highly formal inverted question form (puis-je "may I"). A common alternative is Est-ce que je peux or more simply in a colloquial context: Je peux or J'peux (pronunced /ʃpø/).

Edit: As a side note, I tend to use "vous" when dealing with people on their job sites (e.g. restaurant servers, gas station attendants, etc) regardless of age. If I'm being served by a 16 year old at McDonalds, I'll still use "vous". I'm probably alone on that though.

November 3, 2014

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