Do you have an appointment? Do you have a reservation? What’s the difference between these and when do we use them?
Expressions included in the learning materials
Robin: The question we have today from Guiseppe from Italy is fairly straightforward.
What is the difference between “appointment” and “reservation”?
Robin: These are close because both appointment and reservation involve future plans, but they are used in entirely different ways.
Maura: An appointment is a future meeting previously arranged. We make appointments most commonly with doctors. In fact, they are called doctor’s appointments. It is a scheduled time agreed upon between you and the doctor.
Robin: For example, I have a doctor’s appointment next Thursday at 11:30 in the morning. Or, I have a tooth ache so I need to make an appointment with my dentist. I wish I could go today but they won’t see me without an appointment.
Maura: Any kind of meeting that you schedule with a professional to do work for you is generally referred to as an appointment.
Robin: Other examples: an appointment with a lawyer, an appointment with a physiotherapist. Just like we have appointments with professionals, the professionals have appointments with us, their clients. A doctor could say, I have 5 appointments this afternoon. A lawyer, similarly, could say, I have an appointment with a client tomorrow morning.
Maura: A reservation on the other hand is used more for restaurants or hotels, things not people. To reserve is to make arrangements to have or obtain something in the future. Like I said, you cannot reserve a person. You can reserve a table at a restaurant or a room at a hotel or a seat on a train. You can reserve space. For example, last night they made reservations at his favorite restaurant for tomorrow night at 7:30. What else?
Robin: You can reserve a book at the library or a ticket for a show.
Maura: To reserve can mean to keep something back, withhold it. So when you reserve something, the other person withholds the item or place for you.
Robin: So even as both appointment and reservation involve a future plan, they are quite different. And although they are different, I also wanted to point out that they are both used with the make and not do. We make a reservation and we make an appointment. You can use reserve as a verb, like, “I reserved a table.”
Maura: And though we have the verb appoint, we do not use it to talk about making appointments. We always say to make an appointment.
Audio/Learning Materials: Culips