How to say you will pay for someone else in English

Posted on November 2, 2017

Suppose you’re in a restaurant, having a great time, and you want to pay for everyone’s meal. How do you offer to pay?

How do you offer to pay? Our top recommendations

You can say “this is on me” or “it’s on me”. That way, everyone will understand you want to pay for them too. “On me” in this context means “this is my responsibility”.

How do you offer to pay? Alternatives

You could also say “I’ll get it”, which is a bit more direct. Something that also sounds direct that we haven’t heard for a while is “It’s my treat”.

Don’t confuse the Brits!

Once I went for a lovely meal of fish and chips in an excellent London gastropub with my Spanish friend. At the end, he said he “I invite you”. I was confused. But we’re already in the restaurant! No, he explained, getting his wallet out and moving the bill to his side of the table, “I INVITE YOU”…

Common mistake: “I invite you”

Lots of English learners mistakenly use the word “invite” to mean they will pay for everyone. This is a false friend in English and Spanish. “Invite” doesn’t mean you will pay, just that you want someone to come. If I “invite” you to a restaurant it doesn’t necessarily mean I will pay for you. Maybe it’s my birthday and I want you to join my party so I “invite” you. My friend should have used one of the expressions at the top of this blog post.

British culture: When we offer to pay for someone else

In pubs or bars with a group of colleagues or friends, British people usually take turns to pay for drinks for everyone. We call each one a “round” of drinks. Then for the next drink another person pays. So how do you offer to pay? To volunteer to buy drinks for everyone you can say “it’s my round”.

Learn more about British restaurant and pub culture with our post on how to get good service in London.

Important tip: How to deal with someone who doesn’t want to pay their share!

If there is someone who is happy to accept drinks but doesn’t want to buy drinks for other people, just remind the person with a smile: “It’s your round!”

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