3

I am fairly confident that I have a decent understanding of the differences between 'extra' and 'excess', but there's been one specific context that had me scratching my head as of late. Say I want to express that I brought an ample amount of money (way more that I'd likely need) to spend at a cash-only store, which of the two words would be more appropriate? For example:

I was just short at the checkout last time, so I brought EXTRA // EXCESS money with me today.

To share my own thoughts, I feel that 'excess' has a retrospective vibe to it, as in you'd only know you have more than you need after the event. But 'extra' doesn't seem to be the perfect fit either, as it conveys that you already know exactly how much you will spent/need and just add an additional amount to that. (e.g. I know the stuff I am going to buy cost $200, but I brought an extra $50 just in case I might want to pick up some other stuff along the way.)

Note that the paragraph above is just my personal view. I would like hear a comprehensive answer that would confirm my understanding as well as correct it. Many thanks in advance.

  • Excess means 'more than required/allowed', whereas extra simply means 'more', with the context providing the comparison. Here extra money would mean 'more money than I brought before' or 'more money than I thought I'd need', while excess money just means 'too much money'. – John Lawler Jun 10 '17 at 16:59
  • 1
    so I brought excess money with me would mean: so I brought too much money with me. Clearly, you can see that is not right, right? – Lambie Jun 10 '17 at 17:49
  • The two words are closely related, but the difference in meaning should be clear if you look them both up in the dictionary. If you need clarification beyond the dictionary definitions, perhaps you can post again with specifics of what you don't understand in them. – BobRodes Jun 10 '17 at 19:27
3

Your general understanding of

excess
extra

is correct.

If you already have an amount and then have a bit more, that is

extra cash

if you know how much you need and have some left over, that is

excess cash

Often "extra" gets used when "excess" should be, but will still be understood

I brought extra cash with me, so I have (an) excess (of) cash in my pocket, and extra cash to spend.
I brought extra cash with me, so I have extra cash in my pocket, and extra cash to spend.

in the second sentence, "extra" is used to mean "more than enough", but

I brought excess cash with me, so I have excess cash in my pocket, and excess cash to spend.

does not work.

When checking in at UK airports, if you bring

extra bags

you will need to check them in as

excess baggage

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.