How to properly ask for store hours on phone?

14

I call a restaurant today and ask them for "Are you open till what time today?" as today is Christmas Eve and the person on phone asked me twice what? What?

So how do I ask for a store/restaurant person on phone about store hours for that day?

  1. You are open till what time?
  2. Till what time is your store/restaurant open today?

javanoob

Posted 2016-12-24T19:52:35.647

Reputation: 243

3What time do you close? / What are your hours today?/ What time are you open 'til? – WRX – 2016-12-24T19:55:30.510

1At what time do you close today? – Mick – 2016-12-24T19:55:32.403

3Note that 'til is a misspelling of till. – snailplane – 2016-12-24T20:36:34.357

3@snailplane: Why do you say that 'til is a misspelling of till? I would call it a contraction of until, and a grammatical one at that: it's formed by the standard process. – wchargin – 2016-12-25T09:01:47.080

@wchargin Till is the older word, which means that the idea that it's a contraction of until is mistaken. The misspelling 'til conveys this mistaken idea and learners should avoid it, as it gives the impression the writer is uneducated. Your comment is simply incorrect.

– snailplane – 2016-12-25T09:07:05.190

@snailplane "it gives the impression the writer is uneducated" 'til is so widely used, I would hesitate to say it gives such a strong impression. If anything, "till" being older makes it more archaic. Either way, if you have to write it, "until" is the safest bet. – Amani Kilumanga – 2016-12-26T04:11:00.483

Answers

15

The reason the person was confused was because you started your question with:

"Are you open till...?"

That is the start of a yes-or-no question, such as:

Are you open till 8 o'clock tonight?

If you are asking for the time, you could have asked instead:

How late are you open until tonight?

The "How late are you..." opening of the question lets the listener know that you will be asking for the time, and not wanting a yes-or-no answer.

J.R.

Posted 2016-12-24T19:52:35.647

Reputation: 108 123

Yes, you (@javanoob) need to learn to use the form of a sentence that’s like cutting a deck of cards and stacking the halves in the opposite order: begin an interogative sentence with the interogative pronoun. “what time are you open till today?” (same sentence you used but with the “cut deck of cards”) would have been understood easily. However you phrased the specifics, the first two words should be “what time… ?”

– JDługosz – 2016-12-26T07:01:45.120

"How late are you open tonight?" would be how I would say it and seems most natural to me. It seems to me "until" extends the sentence without adding meaning. – Freewalker – 2018-09-30T19:04:44.710

1@LukeW - No argument from me. The "until" isn't necessary. – J.R. – 2018-09-30T22:44:08.143

10

If you only need to know what time the restaurant will close, you can say

What time do you close today?
What time does [name of restaurant] close today?

If you want to know about opening and closing times, you can say

What are your opening times today?
What are [name of restaurant ]'s opening times today?

JavaLatte

Posted 2016-12-24T19:52:35.647

Reputation: 43 538

4I see JavaLatte is English but I wanted to say "opening hours" wouldn't mean much much to me as an American speaker, and definitely wouldn't include closing times. I would ask simply "When are you open?" – Azor Ahai -- he him – 2016-12-25T05:17:23.473

@Mary I couldn't say. I've never heard this phrasing before. – Azor Ahai -- he him – 2016-12-25T08:43:46.577

@Azor-Ahai:This NGram gives the breakdown of opening times/opening hours for AmE: you can switch to BrE and see that the numbers are similar (if anything, a little lower).https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=opening+hours%2Copening+times&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=17&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Copening%20hours%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Copening%20times%3B%2Cc0

– JavaLatte – 2016-12-25T08:48:41.720

@Mari-LouA: if you google opening time or opening hour, the suggestions will offer only plurals - opening times Aldi, opening times Cairo museum, etc.The use of the plural is because you are asking for two times: when the store opens and when it closes. – JavaLatte – 2016-12-25T08:50:13.897

@Java That may be, but it's certainly not in my dialect. Although, I've also never worked in a service industry. – Azor Ahai -- he him – 2016-12-25T08:53:38.943

I have no quibble with "opening times/ hours", but would I use it with "today" or with the business's name, I am not so sure. What are Tesco's opening times today? seems a bit redundant, I would leave out "today". And if I were to ask that question over the phone, I'd say *What is/are Tesco's opening hours?* All the suggestions are grammatical, and the first two are perfect. But the last two... dunno. – Mari-Lou A – 2016-12-25T10:42:08.297

@Mari-LouA: today essential to the OP's question, as he wanted to know on Christmas Ever when a restaurant would be open that day. As for the company name, try googling tesco opening hours. – JavaLatte – 2016-12-25T12:50:40.720

Tesco's ( capital letter) no matter, it's holiday time and I'm feeling good. Happy holidays/ Christmas etc.. – Mari-Lou A – 2016-12-25T13:06:12.730

@Mari-LouA, If you actually type in the search key Tesco opening hours but don't press Enter, all of the suggested search keys are lower case. I am just copying what Google says. And happy Christmas to you too! And in the spirit of Christmas, listen to the festival of nine carols from Kings College on radio 3 (you can listen on the internet) at 2pm GMT (that's in 45 minutes). – JavaLatte – 2016-12-25T13:13:50.287

"Opening hours" is a standard phrase in British English (see https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/opening_hours) but the question "what are your opening hours" (or "opening times") means "give me all the information about what hours you are open on weekdays, weekends, public holidays, etc" not "when do you open and close today". See https://www.derbymuseums.org/opening-times for example. For a business that sells alcohol, "opening/closing hours/time" often means the times when bar is open, not when the business itself is open, which may be for a longer time.

– alephzero – 2016-12-25T21:08:59.993

1Native American English speaker here and I would not know what you meant by "opening hours," and like Azor-Ahai said, I would certainly not understand that question to have anything to do with the time the establishment closes. – Daniel – 2016-12-25T23:58:31.950

6

What time are you open 'til this evening?

or

What time do you close this evening?

(Since it's a restaurant and not a store, I assume they are open late on Christmas Eve. But you usually need to make reservations, if it's a popular place.)

Andrew

Posted 2016-12-24T19:52:35.647

Reputation: 85 521

4

To ask about a shop or restaurant's opening hours (BrEng), you can use any of these:

  • What time do you close tonight?
  • What time are you closing today/tonight?
  • What time is (the bank, the pizzeria, etc.) closed?
  • Could you tell me when you're open?
  • Are you open every day?
  • Is the [pizzeria] open every day?
  • How late are you open?

Mari-Lou A

Posted 2016-12-24T19:52:35.647

Reputation: 19 962

1

You can just simply say:

"What are your hours today?"

If you just want the closing time, along the lines of what you originally asked, you can say:

"Until what time are you open today?"

Craig

Posted 2016-12-24T19:52:35.647

Reputation: 111