Speak English Around Town » LESSON 15 - Complimenting a Meal

Complimenting a Meal

Lori and Jane compliment Lisa on the delicious dinner she prepared. At the end of the evening, Mike and Lori thank her.

Jane: Lisa, this shrimp dish is out of this world!

Lori: Yes, it's delicious. You really outdid yourself!

Jane: You can always count on Lisa to serve a great meal.

Lisa: Help yourselves to more.

Kyle: I don't want to make a pig of myself.

Lisa: It's going to go to waste if nobody eats it.

Kyle: I'd hate to see it go to waste! I'll take a second helping.

Jane: Kyle, save some room for dessert!

Kyle: (patting large stomach): Don't worry, there's still plenty of room in here!

(two hours later)

Mike: We'd better hit the road. Thank you for a lovely time.

Lori: Dinner was delicious. You and Todd really knocked yourselves out. It was a real treat.

Lisa: It was our pleasure.

Lori: We look forward to having you over soon.

  • (to) count on
    to rely on; to depend on
    Example: Our flight leaves at 6 a.m. tomorrow, and I'm counting on you to wake me up!
  • (to) go to waste
    to be thrown out; to be wasted
    Example: After the Thanksgiving dinner, we sent our guests home with some leftover turkey so it wouldn't go to waste.
  • (to) have someone over
    to invite someone to one's house
    Example: Sandra promised to have us over for dinner later this month.
  • (to) help oneself
    to take; to serve oneself
    Example: Help yourself to another piece of cake.
  • (to) hit the road
    to leave; to get going
    Example: We promised our babysitter we'd be home by midnight, so we'd better hit the road now.
  • It was a real treat
    we had a very nice time
    Example: Thanks for having us over for dinner. It was a real treat.
  • (to) knock oneself out
    to make a big effort; to do more than necessary
    Example: Teresa made handmade gifts for all 20 people at her office. She really knocked herself out.
  • (to) make a pig of oneself
    to overeat; to eat too much
    Example: May I have another piece of pie? I don't mean to make a pig of myself, but it's delicious!
  • out of this world
    Example: If you go to Cafe Felix, be sure to order the apple pie for dessert. It's out of this world!
  • (to) outdo oneself
    to do more than expected; to do a great job
    Example: Danny outdid himself with his high school science project. He built a powerful robot.
  • (to) save (some) room for dessert
    to not eat too much of the main course so as to be able to eat dessert
    Example: The waitress gave us dessert menus and said, "I hope you saved room for dessert!"
  • second helping
    a second portion; seconds
    Example: There's still some lasagna left. Who'd like a second helping?
  • thank you for a lovely time
    thanks for having us to your house ( an expression used by guests to thank their hosts as they leave)
    Example: "Thank you for a lovely time." - "Thank you for coming. It was great seeing you."
Practice the Expressions

Choose the best substitute for the phrase or sentence in bold:

  1. This lamb dish is out of this world.
    • a) pretty good
    • b) not bad
    • c) delicious
  2. Would anybody like a second helping?
    • a) more food
    • b) some help
    • c) some dessert
  3. It's already 11 o'clock? We should hit the road.
    • a) make some plans
    • b) go to sleep
    • c) leave
  4. Spending the weekend at Tina's summer home was a real treat.
    • a) boring
    • b) tiring
    • c) enjoyable
  5. The bride's mother did all the cooking for the wedding. She really outdid herself.
    • a) exhausted herself
    • b) did a great job
    • c) did better than she usually does
  6. Thanks for inviting us over for dinner next Saturday. Please don't knock yourselves out.
    • a) do a lot of work
    • b) serve us anything good
    • c) serve us more than we can eat
  7. We'd like to have you over soon.
    • a) come to your house
    • b) invite you to our house
    • c) go out with you
  8. If that last piece of fish is going to go to waste, I'll take it.
    • a) get eaten by somebody else
    • b) get thrown back into the sea
    • c) get thrown in the garbage
  9. Save room for dessert. I made apple pie.
    • a) Don't eat so much that you're too full to have dessert.
    • b) Make space available on your plate.
    • c) Don't eat too much dessert.
  10. Please help yourselves to more cookies.
    • a) save
    • b) take
    • c) make
Answer Key
Practice The Expressions
  1. c
  2. a
  3. c
  4. c
  5. b
  6. a
  7. b
  8. c
  9. a
  10. b
Answer Key
Language Lens: Reflexive Pronouns

Use a reflexive pronoun when the subject and the object of the sentence or clause are the same. In other words, the subject of the sentence or clause does something to itself or for itself.

These are the reflexive pronouns:

me - myself
you - yourself
he - himself
she - herself
it - itself
one - oneself

we - ourselves
you - yourselves
they - themselves

Compare when to use a reflexive pronoun with when to use a regular pronoun:

=> Reflexive pronoun: the subject and object are the same person

Lisa(subject) bought Lisa(object) a present. => Lisa bought herself a present.

=> Regular pronoun: the subject and object are different people

Lisa(subject) bought Larry(object) a present.
=> Lisa bought him a present.

Expressions with -self / -selves

Here are some common expressions with reflexive pronouns:
behave oneself: I hope the baby will behave herself at the restaurant.
by oneself - note the two different meanings:
          1: alone. Tim has no plans for Easter. He'll be home by himself.
          2: without help. Billy can tie his shoes by himselfl
cut oneself: I cut myself while chopping onions.
enjoy oneself: Enjoy yourselves on your trip to China!
hurt oneself: Isabella hurt herself at the playground.
look at oneself: Look at yourself in the mirror.
tell oneself: Tiffany told herself everything would be okay.
kill oneself: Joel is killing himself by working 100 hours a week.

Reflexive pronouns can also be used for emphasis:
Now you want me to go to the training program? Yesterday you yourself said it would be a waste of time!
Our boss made us work on Christmas day. He himself took the day off.
These cookies are delicious! Did you make them yourself?
You don't have time to fix my computer? Then I'll do it myself.

Note: Do not assume that if a verb takes a reflexive form in your native language, it is also reflexive in English.

Warning: The reflexive pronoun "myself" is often used incorrectly. People use it instead of the pronouns "me" or "I." You'll even hear native speakers make this mistake. Here are a couple of examples of what to say and what not to say:

SAY: Please give the book to Paul or me.
NOT: Please give the book to Paul or myself.

SAY: Either Evan or I will give the speech.
NOT: Either Evan or myself will give the speech.

Quick Quiz

Fill in the blank with the missing word:

  1. Sara and Sam, help _____ to more pie!
    • a) yourself
    • b) yourselves
    • c) myself
  2. I hope you 're not going to be by _____ on your birthday.
    • a) yourselves
    • b) yourself
    • c) myself
  3. Don't call a plumber to fix the sink. Fix it _____!
    • a) himself
    • b) yourself
    • c) myself
  4. Ouch! I cut _____ while slicing a tomato.
    • a) himself
    • b) yourself
    • c) myself
  5. Did your daughter write that wonderful story all by _____ ?
    • a) itself
    • b) herself
    • c) oneself
  6. Troy and Melissa taught _____ Spanish.
    • a) herself
    • b) theirselves
    • c) themselves
  7. Brian ate the entire pie? He needs to learn to control _____!
    • a) herself
    • b) itself
    • c) himself
  8. I made this Christmas ornament _____.
    • a) itself
    • b) myself
    • c) yourself
  9. That's strange. The light just turned on by _____.
    • a) himself
    • b) herself
    • c) itself
  10. You forgot to make dinner reservations? Never mind. I'll do it _____.
    • a) myself
    • b) yourself
    • c) itself
Answer Key
  1. b
  2. b
  3. b
  4. c
  5. b
  6. c
  7. c
  8. b
  9. c
  10. a
Answer Key
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