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[ESL/EFL] Money Talk
Fourth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev
Jennifer Lebedev (jenesl)     Print Article 
  Published 2008-07-07 14:44 (KST)   

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TIP #1

It's hard to believe in this high-tech world that there are still places where we can't pay with plastic, but there really are. You need to be able to ask about the forms of payment:

"Do you take personal checks?"

"Could I pay with a traveler's check?"

"Do you accept cash only?"

TIP #2

Many of us have faced this situation. You hit the ATM (Automated Teller Machine) and get large bills. Unfortunately, you need smaller bills for things such as tips and public transportation. What do you do? You can always ask someone to exchange smaller bills for one large one. Try these expressions:

"Can you break a twenty?" (= twenty-dollar bill)

"Do you have change for a ten?" (= ten-dollar bill)

"Could I have a five and five ones?" (= a five-dollar bill and five one-dollar bills)

TIP #3

One day you might have to borrow money. The possible reasons for this are many: you could forget your wallet at home; you could lose your credit card; you could find yourself in a place that accepts only cash and realize that you have none in your pocket. If a friend, classmate, or co-worker is near, see if he or she can help you out:

"Could I borrow $2.00? I must have left my wallet at home, and I need cash for the bus fare. "

"Would you be able to lend me $5 for lunch? I can pay you back tomorrow."

"Can you spot me $20 until the end of the week?"

Just remember, as my grandmother always taught me, don't lend money unless you're ready to part with it for good! While it's certainly expected for someone to pay back a large loan, smaller loans of a few dollars are easily forgotten.

TIP #4

Instead of being short on money, you may be lucky and kind enough to treat a friend to a cup of coffee or a movie ticket. If you want to pay on someone's behalf, let the other person know by saying: "Don't worry. It's my treat." This tells your friend that it's okay to put his or her wallet away. You can also pick up a bill and smoothly say to your companion: "Please. Allow me."

TIP #5

Sometimes there are situations in which big expenses are best shared because they're too much for one person to pay. If that's the case, try suggesting one of the following:

"Why don't we all chip in?" or "Let's split the bill."

TIP #6

Talk of U.S. currency can be confusing. Become familiar with the abbreviations and informal expressions, and you should be able to make sense of it all. Start by learning these:

Bucks refers to dollars or money in general: "Most lawyers make big bucks."

Grand means one thousand dollars: "A private college can run students 40 grand a year."

K is an abbreviation for a thousand dollars, and it's being used more and more in spoken English:

"Houses in this neighborhood go for $300K."

- Money Talk podcast 7.07.08 

This is an original podcast for OMNI.
©2008 OhmyNews
Jennifer Lebedev is a teacher of English as a second and foreign language with 12 years experience. She has additional experience in teacher training and administration of an IEP and is a published author. Find more of her online English instruction on YouTube under the name "JenniferESL".
Other articles by reporter Jennifer Lebedev

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Seventeenth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev...
  [ESL/EFL] Talking About Change
  [ESL/ EFL Podcast] Personal Finances
  [ESL/EFL] Buying and Selling
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