From Deutsche Welle:

Sie sind bereits seit einer halben Stunde mit dem Essen fertig, aber Ihr Teller steht immer noch vor Ihnen? Wahrscheinlich kennen Sie den Besteck-Code nicht. Messer und Gabel müssen parallel auf drei oder vier Uhr auf dem Teller liegen. Erst dann weiß der Kellner, dass Sie mit dem Essen fertig sind. Ihrer Begleitung signalisieren Sie damit übrigens, dass sie sich an den Resten bedienen darf.

What does the sentence in bold mean? The first part seems to be

You can signal the waiter's company by ...

which doesn't go along with the second part. Also, why is it "ihrer" and "sie", when the previous sentence mentions "der Kellner"?

  • 1
    Just for the record, I do not agree with a lot of the advice given in this article. (#3 is just an example of bad service, in my book, and free tap water upon request is very common in my city. But then, I am from Austria.)
    – Ingmar
    Oct 18, 2014 at 6:25
  • 1
    I agree with @Ingmar about the quality of advice given in the article. Much of the advice struck me as being from a bygone era - or at least from a region I have no experience of. That's not to say there wasn't any truth in it. Just a lot of stuff I didn't recognise at all. Oct 19, 2014 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


An idiomatic translation would be:

Doing this also lets your companion know that they can help themself to the leftovers.

Ihrer is the dative singular. The companion is not necessarily a woman, but the noun Begleitung is feminine.

A more literal translation would be:

To your companion you are signalling thereby - by the way - that he/she may help him/herself to the leftovers.


The way I understand it, it signals your dinner partner that he or she may sample your leftovers ... not exactly a custom that I was aware of.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.