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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    refectory versus canteen

    Can one and the same room in a college be called both a refectory and a canteen ("Let's go to the canteen". = "Let's go to the refectory".)? I heard there is a little difference between them ( though I am not aware of it), will it be unusual if someone uses one word instead of the other?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    #2

    Re: refectory versus canteen

    The administrators of the college will decide what to call it.

    If the students consider 'refectory' too pretentious, they may call it 'canteen' between themselves.

  2. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: refectory versus canteen

    Is refectory closer to a restaurant then? Will it necessarily have waiters?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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    #4

    Re: refectory versus canteen

    A refectory is


    • a communal dining hall in a religious, academic, or other institution (Collins)


    Only refectories in long-established universities are likely to have waiters.

  3. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: refectory versus canteen

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    The administrators of the college will decide what to call it.

    If the students consider 'refectory' too pretentious, they may call it 'canteen' between themselves.
    In what way is a refectory more pretentious than a canteen? Is it usually larger? What makes it more pretentious? Is it just the way it sounds or are there some differences in the interior of the rooms themselves?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: refectory versus canteen

    Neither is used in American universities.
    Dining hall.
    Cafeteria.
    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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    #7

    Re: refectory versus canteen

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    In what way is a refectory more pretentious than a canteen? Is it usually larger? What makes it more pretentious? Is it just the way it sounds or are there some differences in the interior of the rooms themselves?
    It's the sound of the word. I have worked at universities that had refectories, and they looked just like any other canteen.

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