What preposition should I use in the blank?

Can you change a twenty-dollar ($20) note _____ two ten-dollar ($10) notes?

  • 5
    The most common preposition here is probably for, but into is also fine, and just to is at least "acceptable". More colloquially, Can you break a 20$ note into two tens? (most people wouldn't bother repeating notes or dollars, and it's incorrect to actually write out the word dollars after a value that includes the dollar sign $). Jan 4 at 17:47
  • 2
    The dollar sign should also precede the figures, i.e. $20, not 20$.
    – rjpond
    Jan 4 at 17:56
  • The word "bill" would probably be used instead of "note", although spoken usage would omit that too: Can you change a twenty for two tens? Jan 4 at 19:54
  • I'm not sure that's true outside North America, @JackO'Flaherty. Searching the GloWBe corpus for "five/ten/twenty/fifty dollar bill/note" has 56:8 (bill:note) for the US and 19:0 for Canada, but 2:6 for Australia and 4:9 for NZ: not big numbers, I accept, but differently skewed.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 4 at 21:50
  • @ColinFine Interesting. I forgot how widely 'dollar' is used. Jan 4 at 22:15

The most appropriate preposition is for:

Can you change a twenty-dollar ($20) note for two ten-dollar ($10) notes?

This is the idiomatic way of asking for money to be exchanged.

Some people might use "into", but technically that is wrong. Changing something into something else means to transform it so that it becomes something new. For example, a tadpole changes into a frog.

  • 1
    On what authority do you assert that into is "technically" wrong? I shall have to remember never to change into another pair of shoes, since Astralbee thinks that I will thereby become a pair of shoes.
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 4 at 21:57

A very idiomatic way to say this is:

Could you change this twenty for two tens?

No need to qualify it with bill or note or even dollars.

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