Money & Prices

Talking about money and prices is an important part of every day language. Here we can learn how to talk about money and prices.

Talking about Money and Prices in English

What Are Money and Price?

All the countries in the world use money in exchange for things they need. Money can come in different forms, such as paper, coins, and digital currencies. Price refers to the amount of money that is required to purchase a good or service. It is the value that is placed on a product by the seller.

What is Currency?

Each country has its own system of money. It's called currency. In the following, you can see some of the currencies used in English-speaking countries.

Country Currency Symbol Abbreviation
USA US dollar $ USD
Uk The Great British pound £ GBP
Canada Canadian dollar C$ CAD
Australia Australian dollar A$ AUD
EU countries Euro EU

Tip!

Please note that 'Pound' here refers to the pound sterling and not the pound that is used for measuring weight. They are not the same.

Units of Money

Dollar, Pound, Euro, etc. are all units of money. Each unit can have smaller units such as cents and pence. Let's have a look:

Paper Coins Units
USD $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 ¢1, ¢2, ¢5, ¢10, ¢25, ¢50, $1 Dollar, Cent
Euro €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500 €0.01, €0.02, €0.05, €0.10, €0.20, €0.50, €1 , €2 Euro, Euro cents
Pound £5, £10, £20, £50 Penny (1 pence), 2 Pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, £1, £2 Pound, Pence, Penny

Tip!

There are some slangs that you might hear from people when they are talking about Dollars. For example instead of 20 Dollars, we can say 20 bucks. In the UK, 'quid' is used instead of pounds; for instance, instead of saying 'I need 30 pounds', you can say 'I need 30 quids'. And for coins, they sometimes use the word 'piece' or more informally 'bit'.

Warning!

Please keep in mind that talking about money, especially asking about someone's salary is extremely inappropriate in English-speaking countries. And it should be avoided.

Tip!

When you pay for something in cash, sometimes your bill is worth more than the asking price. For example, you ate at a restaurant and the bill is $40, and you hand the waiter a 50 dollar bill; in this case, you can wait for the 'change' which is the rest of your money. You can either take your change or tell the waiter to 'keep the change'.

How to Read Prices

Using "how much" to ask about prices

There are different ways to say the prices; you can only say the numbers, or say the whole number of dollars or pounds or euros followed by the cents or pence, or you can use slang words. We will go over the most common ways of saying prices in the following examples:

One, Two, Three Digit Prices

$2.50→two-fifty

We can just say the numbers

$2.50→two dollars fifty

We can mention the unit

$2.50→two dollars and fifty cents

We can say both the units and the numbers. This is more formal.

We should know that if the price is an exact number of pounds, euros or dollars, we should say it completely.

$600.00 → six hundred dollars

£560.00 → five hundred and sixty pounds

the zeros after the decimal point are not supposed to be pronounced. and are just to help for reading the price.

When the price has 'one' at the beginning, we can use 'a' instead of 'one', for instance:

£100 → a hundred pounds

Four Digit Prices

Typically, we read these prices in the same manner as described above. For example:

$1458.20 → a thousand four hundred fifty eight, twenty

$4250 → four thousand two hundred fifty dollars

If the last two digits are zeros, we can say the price in two ways:

$1200 → 'twelve hundred' or 'a thousand two hundred'

The first way is common in American English, it is not grammatically correct, but it is to shorten the words for the speaker.

Tip!

When reading prices, we typically divide the number by the decimal point. This means that we first read all of the numbers to the left of the decimal point, and then start over and read all of the numbers to the right of the decimal point. Let's check some examples:

$352.20

Three hundred fifty two, twenty

$5.30

Five, thirty

$25.60

Twenty five, sixty

Prices with More than Four Digits

The general rule here is the same as what we have discussed so far, let's see how we write prices higher than a thousand.

$1,000,000

a million dollars

$2,450,300

Two million and four hundred fifty thousand and three hundred

$1,000,000,000

a billion dollars

$1,340,652,500

One billion and three hundred forty million and six hundred fifty two thousand and five hundred

$1,000,000,000,000

a trillion dollars

Tip!

In the UK, paper money is called a 'note'. However, a five-pound note is called a fiver, and a ten-pound note is a tenner. In American English, paper money is called a "bill", and 10 cents are called a dime.

Asking about Prices

There are many ways to ask about prices in English. The first thing to remember is that since money is uncountable, we need to use 'How much' to ask about it. Here are some of the most common expressions used to ask about prices. You can use them in your everyday shopping.

How much is this/that? (are these/those?)

How much does this/that (these/those) cost?

Tip!

To be very polite when you want to ask about prices, you can use the following phrases:

  • What is the asking price of this?
  • Would you please check the price of this for me?
  • Would you please tell me the price of this/that?

Telling the Price

To answer a question about prices, we use the dummy 'it'. If you are saying the price at the moment, you use: 'It + is'. If you have bought something and you want to say how much you paid for it, you can use: 'It + was'. Let's see some examples:

It is $2.50.

It was $445.

Warning

We cannot use phrases such as 'The price is...', 'The cost is...', or 'I paid the money'. They are not grammatically wrong but they sound unnatural, unnecessary, and weird.

Punctuation

Here are some tips about punctuation in prices:

  • There should be no space between the dollar sign and the amount for US currency. Same goes for Euro and Pounds.
  • If we have the price at the end of a sentence, It is ok to use a full stop after it.
  • In the US and UK, a comma is put every 3 digits for numbers larger than 999. The decimal point is presented with a period. For example:

2,254

26,576

1,124,967

5,000.01

  • When there are zeros after a decimal point, it is to show that the number has not been rounded and it is the exact number:

$1200.00

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