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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    She was waiting tables

    This father-in-law is criticizing his daughter-in-law who only aimed at money from her brain-dead husband. The husband is brain dead, so she can take over his fortune.
    What does "waiting tables" mean? The translation goes "working as a waitress", but I think it is "waiting on the table at home, just doing housework".

    gw2-12
    Father-in-low- She just wants the money. That's why she married him. She knew damn well how sick he was.
    She was waiting tables. She didn't even go to college. She doesn't love him the way we do. But I don't want to keep Hugh alive just to spite her.
    Last edited by keannu; 26-Mar-2012 at 09:10.

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    #2

    Re: She was waiting tables

    To me, it's working as a waitress.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: She was waiting tables

    We don't really use "waiting table(s)" in BrE, we say "waitressing" or "working as a waiter/waitress". "Waiting tables" is used more in AmE.
    I think the same goes for "tending bar" which is used in AmE. In BrE we would just say "He/she's got a job in a pub" or "working behind the bar".

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: She was waiting tables

    And further, I'd say "waiting tables" is more often used to refer to past activities. I'd say "I waited tables while I was in college" but if I were doing that now, I'd just say "I am waitressing." Next year, I may say "Yeah, in 2012, I waited tables a couple nights a week to get some extra money to replace our roof." I don't think I'd say "She has a job waiting tables" for a current situation. But it's entirely possible that it's just a personal feeling and not shared. (I don't feel the same way about "tending bar." I'd use that in the present.)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: She was waiting tables

    [AmE - not a teacher]

    It usually means literally worked as server, but it also has a conotation of "paying dues", or "making ends meet" temporarily, as in Barb's example "I waited tables while I was in college". Also, in the context above, it's a denigrating remark.

    You might hear lots of Hollywood types saying they "waited tables" before their big break. You might not assume they literally were waiters or waitresses. Or, you might!

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    #6

    Re: She was waiting tables

    Thanks a lot, keannu and all the teachers here. This is a very useful thread. I'd like to ask a related question:

    Do 'wait at/on table' and 'wait on tables' mean the same as 'wait tables'?

    Thank you again.

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    #7

    Re: She was waiting tables

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    Do 'wait at/ on a table' and 'wait on tables' mean the same as 'wait tables'?
    IMO, yes.

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    #8

    Re: She was waiting tables

    Quote Originally Posted by BobSmith View Post
    [AmE - not a teacher]

    It usually means literally worked as server, but it also has a conotation of "paying dues", or "making ends meet" temporarily, as in Barb's example "I waited tables while I was in college". Also, in the context above, it's a denigrating remark.

    You might hear lots of Hollywood types saying they "waited tables" before their big break. You might not assume they literally were waiters or waitresses. Or, you might!
    If someone told me they used to wait on tables, I would assume they meant it literally, and not as an expression for working menial jobs in general.

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    #9

    Re: She was waiting tables

    'Wait at table' is taken from the Macmillan Dictionary(2002) and Oxford (7th edition) and 'wait at table (BrE)/wait table/wait on tables (AmE)' is taken from LONGMAN DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (1998). Could it be possible that they are regional usage?

    Thank you again.
    Last edited by joham; 26-Mar-2012 at 14:26.

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    #10

    Re: She was waiting tables

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    'Wait at table' is taken from the Macmillan Dictionary(2002) and Oxford (7th edition) and 'wait at table (BrE)/wait table/wait on tables (AmE)' is taken from LONGMAN DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE (1998). Could it be possible that they are regional usage?

    Thank you again.
    It's definitely "on" in AmE.

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