Q & A of the Week 你问我答
Money Amounts 钱数

I am always confused about the expression of the amount of money people are talking about. Usually I don’t understand how much money people are talking about.

This week's question comes from Li Bin in Beijing, who has problems understanding amounts of money in English.

There are a number of different reasons why Chinese learners of English might have problems understanding amounts of money.

1) Big numbers
The counting system in English is different to Chinese. Big numbers like million and billion have no direct equivalent in Chinese so when talking about numbers like 2.2 billion (2,200,000,000) it means you might need to do a little mental arithmetic.

2) Costs and prices
In Britain costs and prices are expressed in pounds and pence. For example, a meal in a restaurant might cost £7.70. When this is written there is no problem, but when you hear someone say this price you might hear one of three things:

a) Seven pounds seventy pence
b) Seven pounds seventy
c) Seven seventy

Make sure you don't confuse seven seventy with 770 (seven hundred and seventy).

A five and ten pound note
A fiver and a tenner

3) Slang
Are you familiar with these slang expressions?

A quid – one pound
A fiver – five pounds
A tenner – ten pounds
A grand – 1,000 pounds
A buck – one dollar
Dough, cash, moolah – all these are slang terms for money.

Thank you to Li Bin for his question. If you have a question about the English language, send us an email to questions.chinaelt@bbc.co.uk. Your name and answer to the question could appear on our website.

Glossary 词汇




mental arithmetic




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