I want X of $20 or I want X $20. [twenty dollars' worth of X]

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English nerd

Senior Member
Hindi
Sometimes we get things in the market for certain fixed price. Like a few grams of substance cost a fixed amount. Now for example you have a particular amount of money and you do not know the quantity, so what will be used? (It is loose and the shopkeeper weighs it and gives it to you)

I want X of $20.
I want X $20.

So should "of" be used or omitted? I want it to mean "I want X worth $20".
Thank you:)
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think what you're looking for is I want $20 worth of X.

    cross-posted:)
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    You would not express it like that. Start with the amount of money:
    I want $20 of X​
    I want twenty dollars' worth of X​
    There are ways of expressing it where the name of the commodity comes first, but they are unusual, old fashioned or very formal, for example:
    I want X to the value of $20​
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    And what about:
    I want X for $20.

    And is the short version more common or the longer one?
    "I want X for $20" is a bargaining position for a particular item, not saying that you want a quantity of it to the value of $20.

    My guess is that the "dollars' worth" version is more common, but I live in a country where "pounds" used for both money and weight, so if I ask for "five pounds of potatoes", for example, this would automatically be taken to mean five pounds in weight, so if I meant £5 in value I would have to say "pounds' worth".
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    I'm a bit confused.....
    Instead of using X, why don't you refer to the actual item?

    Let's say you're buying eggs. You have twenty rupees and want as many eggs as you can get for that amount.
    I want twenty rupees worth of eggs.

    If you said "I want eggs for twenty rupees", you'd be understood in India, where it's a common way of putting it because it's a literal translation of the way it's said in most Indian languages. and you'd be given twenty rupees worth of eggs. I suppose you'd be understood in other places too, but it also sounds as if you mean you want to buy eggs at twenty rupees an egg (well above the usual rate in India), or, if eggs are normally sold in a fixed quantity, such as a box of six or a dozen, that you want a dozen eggs or a box for twenty rupees (below).

    I want X of $20.
    I want X $20.
    I want eggs of $20 = This means you want eggs that cost $20.
    I want eggs $20 = This isn't clear.
     
    Last edited:

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    This isn't a maths or physics question where you'll get a definite answer that everyone will agree on.

    Uncle Jack was giving you his opinion. He said it was a guess, and he qualified it and explained why he holds hat opinion, as you'll see if you read his post again.

    NGram results are based on the frequency of phrases found in those sources that were searched for those phrases and are only indicative of actual use - we don't know how many sources were searched.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    ... and judging by the individual examples, the hits for the blue line in the Ngram include things like Number 5 of 5.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese

    English nerd

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Elroy you find it unnatural and Uncle Jack finds it natural. So is it an AmE and BrE difference? Do all the Brits find "I want $20 of X" natural?
    And do all the Americans find "I want $20 of X" unnatural?
    Thank you:)
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    AE speaker -- I agree with elroy:

    I want $20 worth of gas. -- natural
    I want $20 of gas. -- unnatural, hard to understand

    I want $20 gas. -- different meaning: this says "I want gas to cost $20 per gallon."
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Elroy you find it unnatural and Uncle Jack finds it natural. So is it an AmE and BrE difference? Do all the Brits find "I want $20 of X" natural?
    The situation probably doesn't arise very often in BrE, with pounds being used for money and weight, but using dojibear's example, "I want five pounds of petrol" sounds fine to me, and I would prefer it to "I want five pounds' worth of petrol".
     

    English nerd

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    And for example I want to buy as many chips(packed) as I can with that particular amount and not specifying the number of packets.

    Like: I want $20 worth of chips (i.e. I want as many chips packets as I can buy with $20)

    So can "worth of" be used in these contexts as well, where I'm not specifying the number (maybe I don't know the price of one packet to ask for a fixed number of packets I can buy with the money that I have...)

    Thank you:)
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    It would be a little odd for something with just one unit price, such as bags of chips (which, of course, are crisps to a Brit like me :) ), but it is not wrong, and if you really don't know the price and can't be bothered to do the calculation, it is fine. The shopkeeper may be surprised by your asking in this way, but you would be understood.

    In another scenario, with a different meaning of "chips", if you asked for $20 worth of chips in a casino, you would be given suitably mixed denominations adding up to $20 total, and this usage would be quite normal.
     
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    English nerd

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    So will it sound okay? Do natives ask for something that is avaible in a packet this way? Can "worth of" be used by a native for a packed food item?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I was confused about the actual use...

    Of the version including "worth" and excluding "worth"...

    Because Ngram says that the version without "worth" is more common...
    Whether "worth" is stated or not, it it always implied. So if I ask, "Can I get five dollars of the roast beef?" the speaker is understanding it to mean, "Can I get five dollars worth of the roast beef?, and the listener would mentally fill in that "worth" in the sentence.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    So will it sound okay to use "worth of" with a packet of chips in AE?
    We call them "French fries" and they are never sold by the pound that I am aware of, so you would never be able to buy "worth of" for that product.

    Freshly sliced meats, fruit and vegatables, and some bulk candies are sold by weight and you may or may not be able to by "worth of" depending upon the type of cash register that they have and how it is programmed.
     

    English nerd

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    I meant the actual American "chips". (We call them chips in India and not "crisps".....)

    So can "worth of" be used here?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    So will it sound okay? Do natives ask for something that is avaible in a packet this way? Can "worth of" be used by a native for a packed food item?
    In general, it would be unusual as most things have odd prices. I wouldn't want to depend on a store employee to do any sort of math. How many bags of chips at 0.79 are in 20.00 (including or excluding sales tax ;))?
    If they're weighing something on the scale, they can put in the price code and the scale will effectively measure by price.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, you could ask for £10 (or whatever) worth of packets of crisps/chips.

    Or, if you want 10 packets of crisps/chips, it's simpler to ask for (or just count into your bag/basket/trolley) 10 packets, rather than ask for a certain amount of money's worth.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Well, you could ask for £10 (or whatever) worth of packets of crisps/chips.

    Or, if you want 10 packets of crisps/chips, it's simpler to ask for (or just count into your bag/basket/trolley) 10 packets, rather than ask for a certain amount of money's worth.
    Yes. Potato chips are $1.50 each bag at Starbucks. You can't really buy "10 dollars worth", you can buy six or seven bags ($9.00 or $10.50).
     

    English nerd

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    And will this be more likely:
    I want as many bags of chips as I can get with this $20.
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    And will this be more likely:
    I want as many bags of chips as I can get with this $20.
    If the price is non-negotiable (like most US prices), you are asking him to do the math for you. It is more common to ask "How many bags can I get for $20?". If the answer is "8 bags" then you say "Okay, I'll buy 8 bags."

    As #36 says, you won't pay $20. You'll pay the price of 8 bags.
     
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