In an ordinary, local street eatery or coffeeshop, how can I order food if not using "por favor"? And how can I make a request? Polite, but in a semi-casual way.

"¿Puedes darme una cuchara?"


"Quiero un jugo de naranja"

Like this?

Are there other ways?

  • @ukemi re-read my question one more time
    – nylypej
    Sep 18 '18 at 9:08
  • The top comment in the question I linked gives a selection of casual (and more formal) ways to express this, and notes "Adding por favor is not essential, but it adds more politeness for the request." - do you feel this answers your question? If not, can you elaborate a bit why (so we can better answer your question)?
    – jacobo
    Sep 18 '18 at 10:00
  • @ukemi no, that's not what i'm looking for!
    – nylypej
    Sep 18 '18 at 14:17
  • 3
    Welcome nylypej. I agree with @ukemi that asking for a spoon or orange juice is the same as asking for coffee, however you could edit you question and explain why you don't think the other answer is good for you and we will try to give you additional answers if that is the case. Notice that in the other question the first answer works for latinamerica and the second for Spain.
    – DGaleano
    Sep 18 '18 at 14:29
  • 2
    In Spanish I don't think there's much of a difference between being semi-casual and polite. You can be of course ridiculously over formal "Señor camarero, parece exquisito el café de aquí, podría usted hacerme el favor de servirme una taza?", but anything less formal will end up just sounding rude "dame un café ahora" Sep 18 '18 at 14:59

Let's consider the ones you suggested:

—¿Puedes darme una cuchara?

What I probably would've said here is traer instead of dar. (As I always say, verb usage hinges upon the region you are.)

That being said, the aforementioned sentence does not sound that polite, so I'd say:

—¿Podrías traeme una cuchara?

There's no need, in this case, to say por favor since podría is already polite.

However, saying

—Quiero un jugo de naranja

isn't polite, but it is not regarded as rude either; on another level, this works in contexts where you're directly speaking to a waiter/waitress.

To fix this, we can introduce the subjuntivo de cortesía:

Quisiera un jugo de naranja. (Note that the form quisiese is also possible, but unnatural for this construction.)

This way, you don't need por favor and the request is polite.

In light of these, I'll list other expressions so as to make polite requests not including por favor:

—¿Me traerías una cuchara?
—¿Te molesto / Te puedo molestar con una cuchara?
—¿Me podrías traer un jugo de naranja?
—Me gustaría un jugo de naranja.

These, I feel, will be of interest to you.

  • ¿Te puedo molestar con una cuchara? Hombre,no sé.....
    – Lambie
    Sep 18 '18 at 16:32
  • 2
    @Lambie ¿Cuál es la pregunta?
    – Schwale
    Sep 18 '18 at 16:35
  • Creo que @Lambie está cuestionando tu preposición ahí. Dec 2 '18 at 6:23

From where I'm from when you go to a store/cafe/bar and we don't know if they have something, the custom is asking:

¿SI me das/traes un/una café/cerveza/te/botella de agua?


"Can you give/bring me a coffee/beer/tea/bottle of water?"

The "si" can be avoided but is used to prompt or asks for a confirmation of your request, it is also the "courtesy" part of the request and so the waiter/waitress would actually answer you "si".

Buuut, if is something that is already written in a menu we would say something like:

"Voy a querer ..."
"Dame un ..."

If you don't know if they have it on the menu you can go by:


So this way you are actually doing to things :

  1. Asking if it's possible to get something,
  2. Actually asking for it if it's possible.

So I would ask like this:

¿Si me das una cuchara? (someone I know, at someone's house)
¿Si me trae una cuchara? (someone I don't know at a restaurant)

But in case is something that is already on the menu it would be something like this:

"Voy a querer" un jugo de naranja.

If it's not on the menu

"¿Tendrás jugo de naranja?"

  • yes, that's helpfull. give him + someone
    – nylypej
    Sep 18 '18 at 21:43

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