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When asking for the bill in a restaurant/diner, besides the common "Could I have the bill [/check for US English], please" can I say something like: "Could you close me out, please?" I saw that in a series, but couldn't find instances of its usage elsewhere on the web. Thanks for any input.

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    The short answer is yes; native English speakers do say "please close me out"; it's not as common as "check, please", but it's still used frequently (more for a bar tab than a dinner bill, in my experience). See the phrasal verb "close out" on UsingEnglish.
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 18, 2014 at 14:55
  • I'd been to that page just before posting the question here, but it didn't seem to me it matched the diner situation. But I'll take it from you happily - I just needed some confirmation. Thanks a lot for your help.
    – Albert
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:17
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    +1 for "check please" in US. I've been successful just making eye contact with our server from across the room and "air drawing" a check mark ✓, which is always understood to mean I'm ready for my check. On the "close me out" phrase, I've heard it, but more in a bar setting, where a running total (the open tab) is kept and tallied (thus closing the tab) at the end of the night. In my experience, it is less common in a restaurant. Sep 18, 2014 at 15:21
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    I see. The scene I heard it in was indeed set in a bar. Splendid, with all this my question is perfectly answered.
    – Albert
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:30
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    Possible duplicate:english.stackexchange.com/questions/904/…
    – user66974
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:36

2 Answers 2

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In all my years of visiting restaurants I have never heard anybody say "Can you close me out, please?" (British, here) After reading comments it would seem that "close-out" is very much American English.

You are much better sticking with the "Can I get the bill, please?" or:

Can I settle up, please?

or

Can I pay the tab, please?

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    It's not uncommon here in the US. We also say "Can we settle up?"; but settle-up, like close-out, is typically reserved for closing a tab at the bar, rather than a bill at dinner (though that's not unheard of).
    – Dan Bron
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:14
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    @DanBron - Thanks for the US info. "Settle up" here can be to pay for anything, generally. A tab typically relates to a bar tab but I have heard tab used in place of "table" which is why you can pay your [food] tab.
    – Ste
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:16
  • Indeed I heard the said expression in a Kentucky-set series, so perhaps that figures that it doesn't get to be much used in the UK. Thanks for your answer, settle up sounds good too.
    – Albert
    Sep 18, 2014 at 15:23
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Just the other day at a bar, the bartender asked, "Shall I open a tab?" When I was finished (a few hours later), it would have made total sense to ask, "Can you close me out?". Close goes with open. But, if one is dining and needs the check, although "Can you close me out?" would be perfectly understood by any waitperson, it's not the conventional way to ask for the check. (I've never heard the word "bill" used in a restaurant or a bar. Only when, for example, having one's plumbing or roof fixed.)

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