break a 20 dollar bill

Discussion in 'English Only' started by roniy, Aug 16, 2007.

  1. roniy Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)
    "Can you break a 20 dollar bill ?"
    Are this sentnece and "Do you have change of a 20 dollar bill" the same ?



    When I go to a store and I need small bills but I don't want to buy anything I tell the seller "Can you break a 20 for me?" (this is correct, right ?)

    But I'm not sure I can say the second sentence. The second sentence I would say in a situation when I buy let's say ice cream and I give him a 100 dollar bill and I'm not sure he has change.

    Am I wrong in my opinion ?


    Thanks.
     
  2. bibliolept

    bibliolept Senior Member

    Northern California
    AE, Español
    I would say, "Do you have change for a twenty-dollar bill?"
     
  3. roniy Senior Member

    Brooklyn NY
    ISRAEL: Fluent Hebrew ( Speak Russian, Learning English)

    Thanks for the correction :)

    and it's the same as "Can you break a 20 dollar bill ?" (assuming this sentnece is correct and assuming that I don't want to but anything at this time :) )
     
  4. ajlindsay Member

    Paris
    England / English
    I think one breaks a twenty (or "score", where I'm from - *how* I would love a cockney sub-forum...) when looking for something smaller, and asks if it can be "changed" when buying something small with something big.

    So, no, I don't believe you're wrong in holding your opinion.
    -

    Aj
     
  5. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Could you break a 20 for me? and Could I get change for a 20? mean the same thing to me. But few, if any, places hand out change, unless you're buying something.
     
  6. tinlizzy

    tinlizzy Senior Member

    Iowa
    USA - English
     
  7. Russula emetica

    Russula emetica Member

    Russian - Russia
    But what does "break into a £20" mean then? This is the example from the OALD:
    I had to break into a £20 to pay the bus fare.
    The explanation is as follows: break into (BrE) to use a banknote of high value to buy sth that costs less.

    Instructive as the explanation is supposed to be, I have to admit I can't understand it at all.
     
  8. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    If something costs, say , £1, but you only have a £20 note - you use it to pay for the item. It's a bit like breaking into a safe where there is money and taking the money out.
     
  9. Russula emetica

    Russula emetica Member

    Russian - Russia
    Does it imply that I get no change from the banknote?
     
  10. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Absolutely not - where did you get that idea??? You get £19 in change.
     
  11. Russula emetica

    Russula emetica Member

    Russian - Russia
  12. kentix Senior Member

    English - U.S.
    In the U.S. that example sentence would not be idiomatic so it is rightly labeled BrE.
     
  13. Russula emetica

    Russula emetica Member

    Russian - Russia
    Thanks for commenting. Interesting.
     
  14. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    (You can also tell by the use of £ instead of $ as in the OP using simply "break a 20...":))
     

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