How to talk about prices in English – Basic Vocabulary Let’s go shopping and talk about money! You don’t need to say something costs “five dollars and ninety-eight cents”! We shorten everything. This basic English vocabulary lesson will teach you how to understand prices, and say them like a native speaker! Test your skills with the quiz here:

Do you like shopping? I don’t. But one thing I do like is saving money and getting a bargain or a deal when I have to go shopping and buy something. What I’m going to teach you is how to talk about prices or how much something costs or how much something was in English.
It is difficult, I think, to say numbers or listen to when people tell you how much something costs in English because we don’t say, “Ten dollars and seventy-five cents, please.” What we do is we take the number, and we divide it. So if I was going shopping, and I wanted to ask someone, I would say, “Hey, how much is this?” If I held the thing in my hand and said, “Excuse me. How much is this?” People would say — or the person that was trying to sell it to you would say, “It is ten seventy-five.” You do not need to go through “ten dollars and seventy-five cents.” We just say the first number, then the second number. So this number is “ten seventy-five”. Wherever the dot is — or the decimal point — that’s where we divide the number.
This one is “two fifty”. This one would be “eighteen twenty-five”. Something quite expensive would be “a hundred and eighty-seven forty-two”.
Now, we do not — at least I don’t — buy things that are in the thousands. But maybe you’re going shopping, and what you’re buying is very expensive. If the number is over a hundred — it’s “one thousand eight hundred and seven eighty-seven”. It’s the same rule. We say the first number, and the cents we just say as a number together.
Maybe in your country you use a very, very high or big currency. Most of our purchases are not more than a thousand dollars, depending, of course, on what you’re buying. But a typical grocery store or clothing store probably — maybe, depends how much you eat or what you buy — it’s not going to be over a thousand. So you’re not going to have to use “one thousand seven hundred and forty-two” a lot.
The other really, really easy thing is that if you don’t really understand when people speak very quickly, like, “It’s ten seventy-five.” “What? Excuse me. How much is this?” “Three eighty-five” “What?” “Three eighty-five.” “What?” “Three eighty-five.” What you can do is when they type it into the cash register, you can look at the price. Or you can ask them “Please write it down.” That way, you can actually see the numbers.
Now, I’ve told you that the person will say, “It is” — the price. Once you have bought it, you can say to your friends, “Do you like my new shirt?” Your friend’s like, “Oh, I love it! Oh, my God! How much was it?” And then you punch your friend for having friends that talk like that. You’re going to say, “It was”. So after you have bought something, “it was ten seventy-five.” “It was two fifty.” This is the only grammar, the only two tiny words that you need to use. Yes. No. Don’t say this. Don’t say this, “The price is” or “the price was”; “the cost is”; “I paid the money”. “Did you really pay money?” Of course, you paid money. Do not use these expressions. They’re very unnatural. This one is just strange and unnecessary.
So the next time you go shopping, try and listen; try and ask people questions; and listen to the price of things. Watch out for the evilness called “tax”. People will always say, “Oh, that’s eighty-seven thirty-five plus tax.” And in Canada, it’s not included in the price, so good luck shopping out there. Until next time, goodbye.

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