Don't you have the right change?

< Previous | Next >

OED Loves Me Not

Senior Member
Japanese - Osaka
Hello, friends!

:confused: Question:

What can the following sentence mean? In what contexts
can it be used?

   Don't you have the right change?

:arrow: A context in which I think it can be used:

Right before getting off a bus, you have to pay the 50-cent fare to the driver.
You place a 10-dollar bill on his payment plate. Then he says,
"Don't you have the right change?"

In this case, the driver is asking you if you don't have a set of coins
amounting to exactly the amount of money to be paid (that is, 50 cents)
or at least a 1-dollar or 2-dollar bill so that he can then be able to give you
back the small change he owes to you.

In such a case, the driver may or may not be irritated. He may simply be
asking you if you do not have the right change. Or he may be slightly
irritated, thinking to himself, "What the heck is this guy think he's doing?
He owes me 50 cents and he doesn't even have the courtesy to give me
a small-amount bill, much less the exact change."

I think that's a typical context in which this expression can be used.
And I don't think you can use it when you want your 100-dollar bill
into small-amount bills
and go to a hotel receptionist.
If you ever say "Don't you have the right change?" there, then
I think they'd be offended, because of the negative connotation
of the construction "Don't you?" (that is, showing your irritation).

Am I right? My intention behind this question is to know how
exactly the construction "Don't you?" could be interpreted.
 
  • DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    What can the following sentence mean? In what contexts
    can it be used?

       Don't you have the right change?
    A more usual question would be "Don't you have the right money ?"

    It wouldn't sound odd to me for a bus driver to say it, as in some parts of the UK passengers are required to pay the exact fare, and drivers don't give change.
     

    Szkot

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The right/exact/correct change are commonly used in the way you describe, even though strictly speaking change is money returned when you have offered more than the required amount. 'When you board the bus, please have the correct change for your fare (Lothian Country Buses).'

    Your driver's use of the negative question makes sense because you have already offered the incorrect amount. To start your question to the receptionist with 'Don't' does not make sense because you do not know whether she can give you change or not.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    strictly speaking change is money returned when you have offered more than the required amount.
    And by extension, coins in general. From the WR dictionary:

    the money returned when the amount offered in payment is larger than the amount owed:
    Your change from a dollar is sixteen cents.
    coins:
    rattling the change in his pocket.


    8. the balance of money given or received when the amount tendered is larger than the amount due
    9. coins of a small denomination regarded collectively
     

    OED Loves Me Not

    Senior Member
    Japanese - Osaka
    Thank you very much, guys, for your detailed answers.
    You guys are a great help to me, and to many other
    Japanese who know I've asked this question here
    and have been reading your answers.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top