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Making Invitations

How to ask people to join you for a special event

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Inviting people to join you for dinner, social events, or other occasions is usually done using 'would like' to indicate the invitation. This form can be used for both formal and informal invitations. Remember that 'would you like ...' is always followed by the infinitive form of the verb (to do).

Phrases for Inviting People

Informal Phrases

Why don't we + verb?
I'm buying.
My treat.
It's on me.
Let's + verb

Why don't we go out for dinner? I'm buying. 
Let's get a hamburger. My treat.

Formal Phrases

Would you like to + verb?
I'd like to ask you to + verb
It would be my pleasure if you would + verb
May I have the honor of your + verbing?

I'd like to ask you to attend the open ceremonies next week.
May we have the honor of your presence at dinner on Friday?

Example Dialogues

Person 1: Would you like to join us for dinner this evening?
Person 2: Thank you. Yes, that would be very nice.

Person 1: Would you like to come with us?
Person 2: Sure!

It's also common to use suggestion forms in more informal situations to invite other people to join you in doing something. These forms include 'let's do, how about / what about doing, shall we'.

Example Dialogues

Person 1: Let's go out on the town tonight.
Person 2: Yes, let's do that.

Person 1: Shall we get some dinner tonight?
Person 2: That sounds like fun.

Thanking People for Invitations

Always thank someone for inviting you to do something. Here are some of the most common forms used to accept an invitation.

Thank you very much.
That would be nice.
Certainly, I'd love to...
Sure, that would be great! (informal)

Example Dialogues

Person 1: Would you like to come over for dinner?
Person 2: That would be nice. Thank you.

Person 1: How about joining us for ice-cream?
Person 2: Sure, that would be great!

If you are unable to accept an invitation, use one of the following polite phrases to respond.

Thank you. I'm afraid I have another engagement.
Sorry, I'm afraid I can't.

Practice Situations

Find a partner and use these suggestions to practice inviting people for different occasions. Make sure to vary the language you use when practicing rather than using the same phrase over and over again.

  • invite your boss over for dinner next week (formal)
  • invite a friend out for a drink (informal)
  • invite an important person to have lunch with you (formal)
  • invite your brother or sister over for a barbecue (informal)

More Language Functions

Encouraging Others
Expressing Enthusiasm
Confirming Information
Comparing and Contrasting
Giving and Receiving Presents
Expressing Sadness
Asking for Information
Asking for Permission
Asking for a Favor

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